With Election Day fast approaching, it’s good to see that the dispute between Libertarian candidates Roger and Ellen Misbach and the Secretary of the State has been settled, and their names will appear on the November mayoral and City Council ballot.
Roger Misbach sued the Secretary of the State's office and Secretary Denise Merrill for denying ballot access to the Misbachs over filing requirements. The parties settled the matter the day before an Oct. 10 court hearing.
While it is good that the issue was settled out of court, that is not to say that it necessarily would have been worked out in time, had Misbach not sued.
Although there have to be reasonable rules and deadlines in the electoral process, we always hope the system will err on the side of openness, and not shut third-party people out unless absolutely necessary.
Petitioning your way onto a ballot is an involved process, and the Misbachs were originally named as placeholder candidates for the purposes of generating enough signatures to meet the state's filing requirements. Once they were named as the actual candidates — Roger Misbach for mayor and Ellen Misbach as a City Council candidate in Area 4 — the resulting red tape threatened to deny them their places on the ballot.
This is not the first time the Libertarians have faced obstacles in their campaign efforts in Meriden. The party sued the city and Mayor Kevin Scarpati in 2018 after they and other third-party workers were prevented from gathering signatures at the city's Daffodil Festival. The city settled for $37,000 and agreed not to interfere in ballot petition drives.
Now, Scarpati will be opposed on Nov. 5 by Roger Misbach and petitioning candidate Ernestine Holloway, but not by any Republican-endorsed candidate.
However the voting turns out, the public will now have more choices, and that’s a good thing.