Fox 61: Supporters of Bridgeport mayor used deceptive tactics while canvassing voters before Democratic primary, affidavit claims

September 28, 2023

By: Matt Caron

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — New information Tuesday about the absentee ballot scandal in Bridgeport shows that at least six investigations are underway by the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC), FOX61 confirmed.

The investigations are in addition to the two referrals that SEEC received from the Bridgeport Police Department to investigate possible ballot fraud related to the surveillance video that surfaced after the primaries earlier this month and the Fireside Apartments.

Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, FOX61 obtained four sworn affidavit complaints sent to SEEC that provide a detailed description of the alleged tactics used by Wanda Geter and other supporters for Mayor Joe Ganim’s campaign while talking to Bridgeport voters.

Geter is an “operation specialist” for the city of Bridgeport and is alleged to be the woman seen in surveillance video putting papers into an absentee ballot box outside the Margaret Morton Government Center. John Gomes, the leading challenger in the Democratic mayor’s race, alleges that Geter was putting illegal absentee ballots into the voting box.

In the SEEC affidavits, Geter is alleged to have “promised (a voter) she can get her a section 8 voucher if she votes for Ganim.” Section 8 vouchers are a part of a federal program assisting very low-income families to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing.

Another allegation in the affidavit is that Geter “always comes and fills it (ballot) out for me.” Another complaint states the voter had a “fear of Wanda Geter,” because she “makes threats to people.”

“The fundamental issue here is that civil rights were violated here when we talk about the voters of Bridgeport and we want clarity and integrity back in the vote,” Gomes told FOX61 News on Monday outside a Bridgeport courthouse.

The affidavits name nearly one dozen Bridgeport locations where Gomes campaign canvassers allege they identified absentee ballot irregularities.

“We want to try to get information about what she did with those ballots but also with other absentee ballot applications and other absentee ballots so she is a crucial witness,” William Bloss, the attorney representing Gomes told FOX61 News on Monday.

Other allegations not naming Geter include an absentee ballot being received by the town clerk from a name that didn’t live at the addressed residence. Another allegation cites a Ganim canvasser allegedly telling a voter, “Line A was the only Democratic line.” Another voter claimed his mailbox lock, “had been tampered with.” and, “someone had stolen his AB.”

Many of the allegations come from low-income, elderly, non-English speaking homes, the affidavit showed.

“If you look at the absentee ballot logs. There are a lot of absentee ballots being cast at senior living facilities,” Bloss said.

In an interview with FOX61 News on Sept. 14, Ganim said they had a “huge turnout with seniors.”

“Many of them did and do mail in,” he said. “I’ve always had not only a warm place in my heart for not only our seniors but our youth but they’ve been a strong base of support.”

Ganim has continued to deny any involvement, saying his focus remains on moving Bridgeport forward.

“Never take a vote or someone’s support for granted,” he said. “I’ll be out, which I enjoy doing, knocking on doors at public events and talking to people. Staying connected in the neighborhoods with the thousands we met over the past number of months.”

Amid the SEEC investigations, the Bridgeport Police Department continues its probe into how the Gomes campaign obtained a copy of the surveillance video at the center of the complaints.

A civil suit filed by the Gomes campaign into allegations of election fraud is in front of a judge at Bridgeport Superior Court. The suit asks Judge William Clark to overturn the results of the primary.

Ganim was originally elected mayor in 1991. He served until 2003 when he resigned following his conviction on federal corruption charges. He received a nine-year sentence and was released in 2010 following a reduction of his sentence due to successful participation in prison programs. He worked for his family’s law firm, since he was no longer allowed to practice law. He ran again for mayor successfully in 2015 and was reelected in 2019.