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U.S. Rep John Larson to be deposed in ballot access lawsuit

As Muad Hrezi’s fight to get on the ballot continues, U.S. Representative John Larson and his campaign have entered the fray, filing to intervene in the case and joining the State as a defendant. Rep. Larson is scheduled to testify in a deposition tomorrow, ahead of the four-day trial set to begin on Tuesday, according to a press release from the Hrezi campaign.

“It’s ridiculous that this legal process even has to take place. It should not be this difficult for a candidate to get on the ballot in our state,” Hrezi said in the press release. “Mr. Larson decided to intervene on the side of less democracy, and we’ll be asking him why. This trial is about more than just this election cycle. We’re fighting for change across the state to ensure voters have a say and the democratic process has a chance.”

The Hrezi complaint is one of two lawsuits currently making their way through the courts challenging the constitutionality of Connecticut’s ballot access laws. Earlier this year, a U.S. district judge threw out one of the lawsuits, however, a report submitted as evidence in the case by Plaintiff Andy Gottlieb found that Connecticut has the most restrictive ballot access laws in the country. Gottlieb is currently appealing the court’s decision.

Hrezi’s complaint alleges that the office of Secretary of State Denise Merrill was two days late with providing his campaign with the necessary petitioning paperwork, depriving his campaign of precious time to collect the 3,833 signatures required to appear on the primary ballot. 

Secretary of State Merrill’s office was legally obligated to provide Hrezi’s campaign with the petitioning paperwork on April 26th, 2022, they failed to do so until two days later on April 28th at 3:00 p.m., according to the lawsuit. Hrezi’s campaign came about 300 signatures shy of the requirement after hundreds of signatures were deemed invalid by town registrars.

Rep. Larson is running for a 13th term and has held the seat since 1999. He has never faced a primary challenger. Connecticut holds the distinction of being the only state in the country where no incumbent U.S. House member has ever faced a primary.

Rep. Larson’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

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Tom Hopkins

A national, award-winning journalist from Bristol, Tom has a passion for writing. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist. He has taken deep dives into sexual assault allegations by Connecticut professors, uncovered issues at state-run prisons, and covered evictions in the New Britain Herald. He chose to focus on issues based in Connecticut because this is his home, and this is where he wants his work to make the greatest impact.

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