Over the last two years, the City of Bridgeport has seen a significant increase in the use of absentee ballots. For this primary alone, Bridgeport received over 4,000 absentee ballot applications, perhaps the highest number in the state.
The Gomes campaign expressed serious concerns about the use of absentee ballots in the primary, especially since mayoral candidate John Gomes was ahead in the polls with 470 votes before absentee ballots were counted. That lead quickly eroded, and turned into a loss of 251 votes after all of the absentee ballots were counted.
Such a dramatic shift in results certainly raises red flags.
Then there's the shocking video of Vice Chair of the Democrat Town Committee, City Hall employee, and Ganim campaign volunteer, Wanda Geter-Pataky, allegedly repeatedly depositing stacks of ballots into an outdoor ballot drop box.
Video also emerged showing Geter-Pataky and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim before the primary. In the footage, Geter-Pataky was laughing, smiling, and assuring Ganim, "I got your back, Mayor."
This not the first time that Geter-Pataky has been accused of irregularities with absentee ballots. The Gomes campaign says that she was referred for a criminal investigation to the state attorney's office in reference to alleged misuse of absentee ballots in the 2019 election.
No wonder the Gomes campaign alleged voter fraud!
They also alleged voter suppression, and filed multiple complaints with the state's election commission, including the video of Geter-Pataky allegedly stuffing the ballot box.
The Gomes campaign is petitioning the court to file an injunction to stop the certification of the primary election results, and to conduct a new primary. Gomes plans on running and remaining on the ballot for the November election.
Ganim released a statement on the matter, saying “I want to state unequivocally that I do not condone, in any way, actions taken by anyone including any campaign, city, or elected official, which undermines the integrity of either the electoral process or city property. The Bridgeport Police Department is actively investigating all these matters, and my administration will continue to update the public as we are able to obtain more information.”
Bridgeport Police Chief Roderick Porter indicated that the leaking of the video to Gomes was "a serious matter" that would need to be investigated.
The Gomes campaign commented that it was interesting that the police are concerned about how that information was leaked instead of the shocking contents of the video. Gomes refused to reveal the source of the video, but he alleged that the police knew about the video for days before the Gomes campaign felt compelled to release it.
An aid from U.S. Representative Jim Himes' Bridgeport office indicated yesterday that she was entirely unaware of the video. Even though Himes tweeted gibberish in response to the allegations of irregularities.
When Lamont was asked whether this video would make voters feel less confident about Connecticut elections, he sheepishly responded, "I saw those videos. They were disturbing. That said, don't jump to conclusions. I say that every time. But I want to thoroughly investigate this." He emphasized that he wants to investigate it "soon" and said it's too early to see whether the courts will get involved right now.
Lamont nervously indicated that if any regulations need to be tightened up to give people confidence, he would consider that, but again said not to jump to conclusions, even alleging that the videos might not even be real.
This is now the second time that Bridgeport election results have changed after absentee ballots were counted. Where have we heard that before?
While addressing the Bridgeport ballot probe, Secretary of State Stephanie Thomas said, "it's about a few bad actors and an under-educated electorate" that allegedly don't know their rights. She is suggesting that towns install security cameras around ballot boxes as a precaution. She claims the ballot system is still secure.
But Republicans aren't buying it.
State Senator Rob Sampson (R) and State Representative Gale Mastrofrancesco (R) said that, "democrats have repeatedly dismissed the issue of absentee ballot fraud as baseless. Yet, the release of the security footage shows the validity of the concerns."
“We have continually made it clear that the expanded use of mail-in ballots and no excuse absentee ballots without the necessary checks for integrity is ripe for fraud. Unfortunately, this incident in Bridgeport illustrates why we continue to raise the alarm year after year,” said Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco. “The integrity of the electoral process demands that it be free of tampering so that voters have faith in the system. Incidents like these only add to the suspicions of corruption. This incident needs a full, transparent and thorough investigation.”
“The multiple reports and related footage of alleged absentee ballot-stuffing in Bridgeport confirms my worst fears for how these ballots can be abused. I want to see a thorough, impartial investigation to detail exactly what happened, and how many bad actors were involved. If this is indeed criminal misuse of absentee ballots, I am calling on our Secretary of the State to conduct a statewide investigation to determine the pervasiveness of this criminal behavior,” Sen. Rob Sampson said. “For years, I have warned of the consequences of irresponsible expansion of absentee balloting. I have also introduced, year after year, measures to ensure confidence in our elections, and that every legal voter can access a ballot.”
He continued, “What we saw in Bridgeport, if proven true, is a crushing blow to the people’s confidence in our elections. Democrat voters in Connecticut’s largest city have potentially been disenfranchised. If we do not change our policy, our elections–both past and present–will be questioned.”