Election Day was both a success and a headache for Mike Germano, a Quinnipiac junior who ran as a petitioning candidate for Legislative council in Hamden on November 4.
Students turned out by the hundreds to cast their vote for Germano, but according to Germano and his campaign team, many of the students were harassed and improperly turned away from the polls. The campaign team has brought the election results to the state of Connecticut Election Enforcement Committee to investigate voter fraud due to this allegation.
“The town itself treated students well, but there were a few individuals who didn’t play by the rules that must be held accountable for their actions,” Germano said during an interview Sunday.
According to Germano, Democratic Town Committee activist Joseph McDonagh halted voting an hour before polls closed, claiming that students were incorrectly registered to vote.
Germano called this action a “stall tactic” which held up voting for at least 45 minutes prior to the closing of the polls.
McDonagh told the New Haven Register that some students registered to vote in the 1st District using their post office box at Quinnipiac when they actually lived off campus or in another district.
“My challenge did not result in a single legitimate person being denied the right to vote,” McDonagh told the Register on Wednesday.
Germano claimed this allegation false and said that only students living on campus were registered to vote by his campaign team.
Germano said that other students were harassed outside the polls, turned away or forced to wait, and eventually left because they had to return to campus for classes.
“I’m not being a sore loser,” he told the Register. “I knew the entire campaign would be an uphill battle. I was just very upset to see some of the antics and tactics in town.”
Germano, a marketing and political science major, lost by 132 votes to Democrat Matt Fitch. Republican Joe Boyne came in third with 309 votes. However, Germano said that at least 150 student voters were turned away from the polls and were not given the opportunity to cast their votes.
Fitch told the Register that he was not aware of the “specifics” of McDonagh’s challenge on Election night.
“Students’ rights are a major concern to me, and I believe that their civil liberties were infringed on by treatment they received at the polls,” Germano said.
Germano said that if the lawsuit is successful, the election could be voided and a re-vote may be possible. However, that is not his goal in bringing his grievances to the Election Enforcement Committee.
“My goal is for the Quinnipiac and Hamden communities to know what truly happened on Election Day,” he said. “This issue is about a lot more than winning my campaign, it also raises a lot of ethical and moral issues for me.”
Despite the pending lawsuit, Germano said that his campaign was a positive and “uplifting” experience for him.
“I received emails from people I didn’t even know, saying that they believed in me. I’ve received support from townspeople, students and professors. I am so appreciative and thankful for everyone who has supported me,” he said.
He said he received comments from poll moderators that Quinnipiac students were respectful and courteous at the polls Tuesday.
“They were also excited to see such a positive impact being made on Quinnipiac’s role in town government. They said my candidacy was the talk of the town,” he said.
Germano said that due to his voter registration drive, he registered more than 1,200 students to vote. He said that the election made many students more aware of their rights and duty to vote.
“I also feel that the campaign accomplished a major goal in proving to the town of Hamden that we’re here and we’re here to stay,” Germano said.
Germano encourages all students who feel they were discriminated against at the polls to contact his campaign team at [email protected]