Random Man Wins Connecticut Election Thanks to a Typo

The voters of Derby, Connecticut thought they were voting James R. Butler to a second term as head of the town's Board of Apportionment and Taxation, which oversees the budget. But someone on the Democratic Town Committee put the candidate's name down as James J. Butler — which happens to be the name of James R.'s 46-year-old son. Well, the good news is that James J. won! But the bad news is that he has no interest in politics, and voters thought they were voting for his 72-year-old father. Now no one has any idea what to do next.

The chairman of Derby's Republican Town Committee sent a letter to Derby Town Clerk Laura Wabno, saying James J. should be sworn in, or no one at all:

"I understand that mistakes are made, but this one is especially unfortunate," [Republican Town Committee Chairman Tom] Szewczyk wrote. He added that if the younger Butler was to be sworn in and resign to let his father take the post, it would serve as a violation of Connecticut State's election law. "This would also be a huge disservice to our voters."

Wabno concedes this was a massive fuck-up with no obvious solution. Av Harris, spokesman for the secretary of the state's office, also says James J. Butler should be sworn in because he was the one elected. But that's ridiculous. According to that logic, literally anyone named James J. Butler could claim to be the winner. Lawyers? Isn't there some clause about intent in elections? Why can't they just have a damn do-over?

Also: Wasn't this an episode of Newhart? If not, it should have been. [CBS Connecticut, Image via Connecticut Post]