Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis heard both sides and will render a bench decision Monday morning on whether the Buckleys, treasurer candidate Randy Shapiro and school board candidate Shaun Malay will be on the ballot this November.
The Easton Republican Town Committee asked for intervenor status in the proceedings and it was granted, increasing the bad blood between the Buckleys and their political party.
"Being a Republican, it bothers me that Republicans would interfere with the democratic process by keeping candidates off the ballot," Derek Buckley said during an interview in his town hall office Friday.
Adam Dunsby, the RTC chairman and the Republicans' candidate for first selectman, was campaigning door-to-door when reached for comment on his cell phone Friday evening.
"Our candidates are on the ballot," Dunsby said. "They have standing. Therefore, we wanted to be there to protect the interests of our candidates. Our attorney only spoke twice during the proceeding."
Av Harris, director of communications for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said the Easton Coalition did everything right to run its third party candidates with the exception of failing to submit a signed letter of endorsement of its candidates by the Sept. 4 deadline.
Harris said the reason for the requirement is that third parties have often had factions in the past, leading to disputes over the slate of candidates. Other times, he said candidates were included on a ballot without their consent.
"The candidate endorsement letter is the one document that confirms that the party and its group of supporters approve of these candidates running under their banner," Harris said.
"The law is black and white on this issue," he added. "It actually says the Secretary of the State shall reject the nominating petition if it does not contain the letter of endorsement."
Harris says Val Buckley called the requirement "ridiculous" on the stand last Thursday and on Friday afternoon, her husband shared that sentiment.
"Val and I would have to endorse ourselves and the other two candidates by giving information they already have," Buckley said of submitting the form to the Secretary of the State's Office.
He also wondered why the two major political parties do not have to reiterate who their candidates are, while minority parties do.
'It Cannot Be Clearer'
Buckley said his wife drove up to the Secretary of the State's Office five times to ensure that all of the proper paperwork was completed and was told it was all done on Aug. 5 — before the Sept. 4 deadline.
"They never followed up at all," Buckley said.
Aside from never being told their petitioning to be on the ballot was incomplete during the process, Buckley said there was nothing in the instructions that says you need the other form.
But Harris said Val Buckley did not ask Secretary of the State staff members questions during the process, adding they would have helped her as they do all other third party candidates petitioning to be on a ballot. He also said the requirement for a letter of endorsement is written all over the instructions.
"There's a whole information packet we hand out," Harris said. "Every petitioning candidate under a new party designation has the instructions. It cannot be clearer."