DANBURY — State election officials said Tuesday the city’s Republican-led administration violated state law by keeping recently deceased Councilman Gregg Seabury on the ballot.

“It is of great concern to read news reports this morning that Danbury officials have apparently decided to ignore the clear requirements of Connecticut law,” said Gabe Rosenberg, a spokesman for the Secretary of the State’s Office.

Rosenberg said office lawyers informed city officials Monday that Republicans must either name a replacement candidate by 2 p.m that day or take Seabury’s name off the ballot. The law applies in any case where a candidate dies within 24 days of an election but more than 24 hours before it, Rosenberg said.

Tuesday evening, the secretary’s office told town officials not to report vote totals for Seabury.

Seabury, a Republican running for re-election to an at-large seat, died on Saturday.

But Republican officials said late Monday they would keep Seabury’s name on the ballot and, if he were to win, fill the position as if it were a normally occurring vacancy.

Danbury Democrats sent a letter to City Hall Tuesday morning threatening legal action if any votes for Seabury are counted.

“Please be advised that any attempt to count votes for Mr. Seabury or to certify any electoral effect from any votes cast for Mr. Seabury would be illegal and unlawful,” states the letter, which is signed by the Democratic Town Committee chairman, Gene Eriquez.

The Democrats said they might seek a court injunction or take other civil action if any attempt is made to count Seabury’s votes.

Mike Safranek, vice chairman of the Republican Town Committee, maintained Tuesday that the city never received a written opinion from the Secretary of the State’s office on the issue, and that officials were concerned about violating other state laws that forbid the defacing of a ballot.

“We haven’t received anything in writing and we don’t want to deface a legal document, only to find out later that we shouldn’t have done that,” Safranek said.

Safranek also said that because Seabury died on Saturday, Monday should be considered the first official day of business for any calculations.

“The government doesn’t do any business on the weekends,” he said. “When April 15 falls on a Saturday, the IRS gives you until Monday to file.”

The law, written before electronic vote-counting machines became common, actually requires that stickers — blank or bearing a replacement candidate’s name — be placed over a deceased candidate’s name on every ballot, Rosenberg said. But because such stickers would have jammed the machines, state officials said Monday the city could have blacked out Seabury’s name instead.

Mayor Mark Boughton on Monday said even that remedy would have been impractical, given that Seabury’s name appears on more than 20,000 ballots.

A proposed update to the ballot law failed in the legislature this year.

All seven at-large seats on the City Council are held by Republicans. If Seabury’s candidacy is disallowed, it would leave an opening for a Democrat to win an at-large seat. Before Tuesday’s election, Democrats held six seats on the 21-member board.

dperrefort@newstimes.com