GROTON, Conn. -- State election officials have fined a Massachusetts
woman $4,000 for voting in Connecticut with an absentee ballot that tied
a primary race in Groton, forcing the race to be decided by a coin toss.
The state Elections Enforcement Commission fined Alicia Primer, of
Weston, Mass., who has a home in Groton and had been registered to vote
in both states, officials said.
Primer was fined for causing last year's tie between Elissa Wright and
Rita Schmidt in the Democratic primary for state representative from the
Former Democratic Registrar of Voters Allen Palmer filed the complaint
months after the August 2006 election after he discovered the person who
cast the tie vote, Primer, should not have been allowed to vote.
This summer Primer told an elections enforcement official and The Day of
New London that she thought she could vote in Groton because she owned
"The Commission considers registering to vote and voting in more than
one jurisdiction at a time to be a serious offense, but is utilizing its
civil authority due to what it perceives as the lack of intent on the
part of the Respondent to commit a crime," the commission said in its
When the votes were counted last August, Rita Schmidt had one vote more
than Wright. But when the mandatory recount was completed, state
officials advised Palmer to count one more absentee ballot, the one from
Primer. The absentee voter in question had presented an acceptable form
of identification when registering to vote in person at Town Hall. But
the state registration system had not recognized the person's Social
Security number, and the absentee ballot did not contain another form of
identification. So the ballot was put aside.
As part of Palmer's investigation into whether to count the ballot, he
had to confirm that the person was indeed a valid voter in the town. He
verified that the voter, Primer, was on the list of registered voters,
and counted the ballot.
The August 2006 Democratic primary was decided by a coin toss, which
favored Wright. Wright went on to win the general election. She
successfully got a new law passed that got rid of the practice of
breaking of a tie in a primary "by lot" and replaced it with a runoff