Shays: election fraud implicated in loss of congressional seat

By Peter Duveen

PETER'S NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2008--Rep. Christopher Shays (D-Conn.) lost his House seat earlier this month after serving more than two consecutive decades in the U.S. Congress. But the outgoing congressman indicated in a statement Thursday that election fraud may have played a roll in his loss.

Shays said during a one hour session aired by the cable news network C-Span that his chances for winning the congressional race seemed to dwindle on November 4, the day of the election. "It started by just this bad omen," Shays recounted. "The individual at this small little dinner said, 'You know I went and voted and they gave me a ballot and it was already filled out democratic.' And I said, 'What did you do?' She said, 'I gave them back the ballot and asked for a new one.' I said, 'Will you go tell the press this?' She said it was probably a mistake."

In spite of what appeared to have been clear evidence of fraud, Shays said he did not believe he lost the election because of corruption. "I lost fair and square but that just didn't settle right with me," Shays said.

PETER'S NEW YORK was unable to verify whether there had been other complaints involving election fraud similar to the instance cited by Shays.

To date, Shays has claimed 48 percent of the vote, compared to 51 percent for his opponent and the victor in the election, Jim Himes, according to an updated tally posted by CBS news.

Shays said he felt confident of retaining his congressional seat until the day of the election, when signs of voter disapproval surfaced during his travels.

"Losing is extraordinarily disappointing," he said. Shays has served in Congress since 1987, when he won a special election held to fill the seat that became vacant at the death of Rep. Stewart McKinney.

Shays was addressing a distance learning session for students of the University of Denver, George Mason University, and Pace University in New York. The session was part of a program sponsored by C-Span and The Cable Center.