REPUBLICAN PARTY OF CONNECTICUT v.
DENISE W. MERRILL, SECRETARY OF THE STATE, SC 19010
Judicial District of Hartford
Elections; Whether Action Seeking Declaratory Judgment as to Where Candidates' Names Should be Placed on the Ballot is Barred by Sovereign Immunity; Whether Republican Party Candidates Should be Placed on the First Line of the Ballot for the Upcoming Election. General Statutes § 9-249a, which is entitled "Order of Parties on the ballot label," provides in relevant part: "(a) The names of the parties shall be arranged on the machines in the following order: (1) The party whose candidate for Governor polled the highest number of votes in the last-preceding election; (2) Other parties who had candidates for Governor in the last-preceding election, in descending order, according to the number of votes polled for each such candidate . . . ." In the last election for governor, which took place on November 2, 2010, Tom Foley, the Republican Party candidate, received 560,874 votes, and Dan Malloy, the Democratic Party candidate, received 540,970 votes. Malloy also received an additional 26,308 votes as the gubernatorial candidate for the Working Families Party. In July, 2012, the plaintiff, the Republican Party of Connecticut, advised the defendant, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, that, based upon the results of the 2010 gubernatorial election and pursuant to § 9-249a, the Republican Party candidates for office should be listed on the first line of the ballot for the upcoming November 6, 2012 election, followed by the Democratic Party candidates and then the Working Families Party candidates. The defendant responded that she intended to list the Democratic Party candidates on the first line and the Republican Party candidates on the second line of the ballots because the votes cast for Malloy on both the Democratic Party and Working Families Party lines are to be included in calculating his vote count. As a result, the plaintiff brought this action for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that, because its gubernatorial candidate in the last-preceding election received more votes than any other political party's gubernatorial candidate, § 9-249a requires that its candidates for office in the upcoming election be placed on the first line of the ballot. The parties and the trial court subsequently reserved the following questions of law for the advice of the Supreme Court: Is this lawsuit barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, and, if not, does § 9-249a require that the Republican Party's candidates for office be placed on the first line of the ballot for the November 6, 2012 election?