An election in Connecticut’s primary was thrown out by a judge who found the evidence to be “shocking.”
There were thousands of absentee votes in the Democrat primary on September 12 for the job of mayor of Bridgeport. As one of the candidates, John Gomes, showed proof that some votes were cast illegally.
State law lets people vote absentee, but it comes with a lot of rules. For example, anyone who helps hand out more than five blank ballots must register with the town clerk as a dealer.
Wanda Geter-Pataky works for the city and backs another mayoral candidate, Mayor Joe Ganim, who is backed by her party. Along with Eneida Martinez, another friend of Mr. Ganim, she did not sign up to be absentee ballot workers or register as such, which is needed if they help voters. Also, absentee voters did not name them to drop off absentee votes.
Both women were caught on tape putting in multiple paper votes into drop boxes more than once. They all said no to testifying in the fraud trial, citing their rights under the Fifth Amendment.
“Allegations of absentee ballot fraud in Bridgeport, all after video was leaked, showing a woman stuffing envelopes into the ballot dropbox,” WSFB 3 reported.
“There’s been some protesters out here, but you can see the ballot box right behind me here at the government center, and then also the camera, the surveillance camera that caught this act. The Challenger, John Gomes claims this election was ‘stolen’,” the report said.
“Gomes lost last week’s Democratic primary to Ghanim by just 251 votes on election night,” the report noted. “Gomes had a lead thanks to the in-person voting at the polls, but the absentees, which Ganim won by nearly a two to one margin, pushed him over the top.”
“It should be noted according to the Secretary of the State’s office, only a voter, a designee of a voter who has an illness or a disability or a family member is allowed to mail or put a ballot in a dropbox,” the report added.
On November 1, Connecticut Superior Court Judge William Clark said that the behavior shown on the tape “represents multiple violations” of state laws about voting by mail.
The judge said that because of the violations, he “could not determine the results of the primary.” He told them to hold a new primary race.
Ganim got 4,212 votes in the primary, which is 251 more than Gomes. In total, 1,564 missing votes went to Ganim, while only 861 went to his opponent.
Candidates in Connecticut can ask for a new election if there was “a mistake in the count of votes cast” or if they felt “aggrieved by a violation” of state law.
The judge didn’t set a new primary date, but he did tell the city and Mr. Gomes to talk about it and come up with one.
As mayor of Bridgeport, Ganim has been in office for almost seven terms. In the past, he was found guilty of cheating.
After the video went viral, Ganim released a statement in which he made it clear: “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.”
He said in court that he had nothing to do with the plan.
Ganim also said that the video proof “shocked” him.
There was also good reason for Ganim to be “shocked” by the video clips that were shown to him while he was testifying, Judge Clark wrote in his decision. “The videos are shocking the court, and they should be shocking everyone.”
Officials from the city had said that the primary shouldn’t be thrown out until the voters themselves gave their evidence.
The judge said that argument was the same as asking the court “to ignore the significant mishandling of ballots by partisans that was caught on video breaking some of Connecticut’s laws.”
He went on to say, “Doing so would go against the clear intent of the laws that specifically forbid such contact with the ballot and would support this obvious practice of ballot harvesting.” It would also support the illegal actions taken by these political players and the wrong way they counted votes that were not valid.
The decision was praised by Mr. Gomes in a statement.
“Today, Lady Justice did what she was supposed to do. She listened carefully to what the people of Bridgeport had to say, thought about the facts, and applied the law fairly, because that’s how justice should always be done,” he said.
“The win today isn’t just mine as the plaintiff; it’s for everyone in Bridgeport who was wronged in the many ways that Judge Clark’s ruling describes. Today, democracy wins,” he said.
In a statement, Ganim said that the decision was important and that he would “wait to hear from the lawyers about whether or not they want to file an appeal.”
“But what hasn’t changed, and what’s really important, is this November 7th, Tuesday, in the city of Bridgeport is Election Day,” said Ganim. “There is a general election for mayor and all the other city offices. Everyone on the front line has backed me as a Democratic candidate, and I want everyone to go out and vote. Let’s make it clear that we want Bridgeport to keep making progress.”
Stephanie Thomas, the Democrat who is Secretary of State of Connecticut, told news outlets in a statement that she was happy with the decision.
“The fact that the Court found ‘significant mishandling of ballots’ should worry everyone,” Thomas said. “Our office will continue to push for policies that will make our election system stronger, like a Connecticut Election Court, drop box surveillance, and spending money on voter education.”
Gomes had also expressed concerns about the upcoming November election and the need for voting integrity.
“Hopefully the SEC, along with Governor Lamont and Secretary of the State will do what needs to be done in order to bring back the integrity every vote that goes into the ballot box, because how do we go forward with the November election to secure that every vote counts fairly?” Gomes said.
Trump voters couldn’t agree more.