‘Documents Detail Alleged Violations in Bridgeport Mayoral Re-Vote’ | CT News Junkie

March 18, 2024

Documents released by election officials last week offer evidence that ballot box stuffing continued during the February re-vote of the Bridgeport mayoral election as well as an allegation from a voter who said a campaign worker offered to pay cash for a completed absentee ballot in the race between incumbent Mayor Joseph Ganim and challenger John Gomes.


The 2023 Bridgeport election has been plagued with reports of election fraud and irregularities, leading to a re-votes of both the Democratic Party primary and the general election earlier this year. Below is a summary of the documents that the Secretary of the State’s office forwarded to the State Elections Enforcement Commission on Friday:


1. Eight voters out of 63 indicated during spot check calls that they received absentee ballots despite not requesting them.

A student volunteering as an election monitor called 63 residencies as part of a spot check for voting irregularities. The calls were assigned by street and organized in alphabetical order by street. Of the 63 calls the student volunteer made, eight of those they reached reported that they received absentee ballots despite not requesting one. Three of those ballots went to addresses on Washington Avenue; one went to Waterman Street; one went to Willow Street and three went to Wood Avenue.


2. A voter indicated during a spot check call that someone came to his house to help him, had him sign some paperwork, and then took his ballot away.

A student volunteer called a Yaremich Drive voter who told the monitor that a “guy” came by the house to help fill out the absentee ballot. The guy had the voter sign some paperwork, then took the absentee ballot. The action potentially violates Title 9, as only the voter themselves or a designated third party, such as a family member or caretaker, can deliver an absentee ballot.

3. A report from a City of Bridgeport employee that a campaign was offering cash in return for completed absentee ballots.

A third-party informant contacted the Town Clerk’s office to report that the Gomes campaign was in a high-rise apartment building on Washington Avenue informing residents that they would receive cash in exchange for a completed absentee ballot.


The informant was given this information by a resident of the building. When Timothy DeCarlo, the election monitor appointed by the Secretary of the State, attempted to contact the voter to verify the information, he was told that he had the wrong number. DeCarlo confirmed the phone number with the third-party informant, who said it came from the apartment resident’s voter registration.


4. Four incidents of suspicious activity at drop boxes suggestive of absentee ballot irregularities, with three apparently involving one person.

Mike Morrissey, an investigator contracted by the Secretary of the State’s office, obtained a hard drive from the Bridgeport Police Department containing footage of four absentee ballot drop boxes located at Lyon Terrace, Broad Street, Boston Avenue and Ocean Terrace. The footage covered the dates Feb. 23 through Feb. 25. After reviewing the footage, four incidents of suspicious activity were found, three of which involved what appeared to be the same person. The suspicious activity suggested ballot box irregularities.


On Feb. 24 at 5:53 p.m., a red pick-up truck with a toolbox pulled up to the ballot drop box on Lyon Terrace. A white male, approximate age of 30-40, wearing a dark heavy winter jacket with a lighter colored hoodie pulled over his head, lighter colored pants and sneakers was observed exiting the vehicle. It appeared that the individual was trying to conceal his identity. He inserted at least five absentee ballots into the drop box before returning to his vehicle.


Four minutes later, the same individual was seen at the drop box on Broad Street. He had absentee ballots in both hands, and reached into his right coat pocket three times to produce more ballots. He had so many he was having difficulty inserting them into the drop box.

The next day at 8:45 p.m., the same individual was seen at the drop box on Boston Road. He entered the camera’s field of view with ballots in his hand and stuffed them into the drop box.


The fourth incident involved a Black male approaching the same drop box on Boston Road with a plastic tote bag. The man crouched in front of the drop box, but his body blocked the view of the camera so it was impossible to tell if he placed ballots into the box.


The Connecticut House and Senate Republicans issued a statement on Friday calling for a bipartisan effort to protect election integrity in the state.


“The initial Bridgeport allegations were shocking enough, now there is a report of cash paid for absentee ballots,” Sen. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, and Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco, R-Southington, said. “How many times do violations and fraud have to occur before the Democrat majority joins us in taking significant steps to deter bad actors from tampering with our elections? The penalties must be significant because our elections are too important to put in jeopardy. Right now, bad actors keep breaking our election laws because they have no fear of going to jail. Our laws need to have teeth so people will think twice before they engage in this activity. It is the only way to stop it.”


The Gomes campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. The Ganim campaign sent the following by email:

“The campaign is pleased to see that incidents of cash offers for votes by Gomes campaign operatives along with other irregularities are being investigated. We appreciate the oversight provided by the Secretary of the State as well as the referral for investigation into these particular matters.”