Former Middletown mayor not to head state’s elections watchdog agency anymore

As of Monday, January 30th, the State Elections Enforcement Commission is no longer considering former Middletown mayor Sebastian Giuliano to be its Executive Director and general counsel, and the agency is now re-posting its job offer. This reversal is due in large part to the concerns expressed by Connecticut politicians and Wesleyan students alike.

This decision was made only a couple of weeks after the Commission announced its plan to hire Giuliano for the position. Concerns were quickly raised, however, most notably by state officials and a group of Wesleyan students. The students who expressed concerns ultimately filed an official complaint with the SEEC against the former mayor due to the unprecedented difficulties students had getting out to vote in the Middletown elections last November. The complaint accused Giuliano and some of his affiliates of engaging in patterns of behavior that sought to “intimidate, mislead or otherwise discourage [Wesleyan students] from voting.” This complaint helped lead to the postponement of the SEEC’s vote on Giuliano’s appointment – until today.

Once we heard of Giuliano’s pending appointment to the SEEC – which is a life-time appointment – we decided we had to file a complaint for the benefit of college students across the state,” said Gabriela De Golia ’13, speaking on behalf of the group of students who filed the complaint.

“It wasn’t about holding a grudge against the former mayor, not at all,” she went on to say. “Originally, we didn’t want to file one back in November, because we were worried it would cause further tensions between the former mayor, his affiliates, and Wesleyan. But this was about ensuring that current and future college students could vote in the Connecticut without impediments. And this is especially important in light of recent attempts all across the nation to make it difficult for college students to vote in 2012.”

When Giuliano was asked by reporters about the complaint, he said that if he was trying to keep Wesleyan students from voting, his campaign would have said nothing about the possible registration problems. Rather, they would have raised a challenge when they tried to vote. He also claims that the election-enforcement agency has weakened itself by reversing its original decision to hire him.

While his appointment to the SEEC is no longer happening, it still remains unclear whether or not Giuliano will be found guilty of the actions mentioned in the complaint. Even so, it looks as though Wesleyan is beginning to place itself on the Connecticut political map in important ways.