Sens. Harding & Sampson Statement on Election Fraud Arrests of Bridgeport Officials

June 11, 2024

Sen. Republican Leader Stephen Harding and Sen. Rob Sampson, Ranking Senator on the Government Administration and Elections Committee, issued the following statement on the arrests of two Bridgeport officials who are charged with election fraud in connection with absentee ballots for the 2019 mayoral primary.

“Five years. That’s how long it has taken for these arrests to be made. Now do Democrats want to pass real election reforms for Connecticut? Because let’s face it: They saw the videos from 2023.

We all did. Repeated, blatant, brazen ballot box stuffing in Bridgeport, all caught on tape. In the pre-dawn hours. In the middle of the day. At multiple locations in the city. The videos went viral.

They made national news. Superior Court Judge William Clark wrote that the videos ‘are shocking to the court and should be shocking to all the parties. The videos were most definitely shocking: to Connecticut Republicans. We now had firm visual evidence of fraud: fraud which has been documented in Connecticut municipalities such as Stamford, West Haven and elsewhere.

In September, majority Democrats repeatedly voted against several Republican measures aimed at addressing known voting abuses and closing corruption loopholes in Connecticut’s election system. Democrats voted as a bloc against Senate Republican amendments which, for example, sought to:

  • Prevent the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballots
  • Require photo ID for in-person and absentee voting (fees waived for those who qualify)
  • Impose a mandatory one-year prison sentence for those found guilty of absentee ballot fraud

Seven months later, on April Fool’s Day, Republicans held a press conference to send a simple, direct message to Connecticut voters: ‘Don’t be fooled.’ Don’t be fooled by those who say that the Bridgeport ballot stuffing is being addressed. Don’t be fooled by those who say the legislature is getting to the root of the ballot fraud problems in Bridgeport and elsewhere. Don’t be fooled by Democrats who say election reform and election integrity is their top priority.

As Republicans predicted, no real, achievable, common sense election reforms were enacted to deter future Bridgeport fiascos.

On the final day of the 2024 legislative session, Republicans once again offered up similar election integrity solutions. Our ideas included regular auditing of voter registration, including audits of absentee- and same day voter registration. We also sought to impose stricter security on the voting process by introducing a signature verification system and voter ID requirements for residents submitting absentee ballots. These systems are in place in other so-called ‘blue’ states, and they have added additional security to the voting process.

On each solution, Democrats in the State Senate Chamber repeatedly voted ‘no’ to putting teeth into our election integrity laws. They voted ‘no’ to holding bad actors accountable.

So, to recap: Even though the world is watching Connecticut, and even though the viral videos rendered a judge ‘shocked’, they didn’t shock Democrats enough.

As a result, the ballot stuffing will continue. So will the voter fraud. The embarrassments will continue. The disenfranchisement will go on.

Connecticut residents are demanding—and certainly deserve—real reform. Republicans are listening. Republicans will continue to put Democrats on the record as being opposed to reform. Despite ample video evidence, they voted no.

Why aren’t election integrity reforms a priority for Democrats? Because the current broken system works for the majority party.”