A Connecticut Superior Court judge has overturned the results of the City of Bridgeport’s Democratic mayoral primary election over the harvesting and mishandling of absentee ballots by partisan actors.
Wednesday’s ruling comes just days Bridgeport voters head to the polls to vote in the mayoral general election on Nov. 7.
The Democratic primary attracted widespread attention after third-party challenger John Gome’s campaign shared surveillance video online appearing to show a supporter of the incumbent mayoral candidate Joe Ganim stuffing papers into an absentee ballot drop box.
BREAKING: A Connecticut judge has overturned the results of Bridgeport’s Democratic mayoral primary, ordering a new election after video evidence of election fraud was found. pic.twitter.com/L8uyET7kKi— Leading Report (@LeadingReport) November 1, 2023
Gomes sued city officials after the primary election — which he lost by just over 250 votes out of a total 8,173 cast — alleging the mishandling of absentee ballots by supporter of Joe Ganim and demanding a new primary be held.
Superior Court Judge William Clark wrote in his Wednesday ruling that “The volume of ballots so mishandled is such that it calls the result of the primary election into serious doubt and leaves the court unable to determine the legitimate result of the primary.”
Clark added that the surveillance videos “are shocking to the court and should be shocking to all the parties.”
Although Connecticut allows absentee voting and allows for absentee ballot applications to be solicited and distributed, Clark wrote that “The issue is whether that advocacy crossed a line of the established laws. “
“Specifically, whether individuals who were not the voter and were not authorized under statute handled ballots,” the judge added.
Gomes responded to the court’s decision Wednesday by calling it “a victory for the people of Bridgeport.”
“Our campaign was designed to give a voice to the marginalized people of Bridgeport who have been overshadowed by a small group in the electoral process,” Gomes said. “Today, our faith has been restored, and we must carry this spark of hope into the upcoming general election.”
The Superior Court’s decision could be appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
The pivotal role of video surveillance footage in exposing potential voter fraud is relevant to a law rejected by Democratic lawmakers in the most recent legislative session.
Maine State Rep. David Boyer, R-Poland, sponsored a bill in April of this year that would have required continuous video monitoring of ballot drop boxes by surveillance cameras.
The bill, LD 1500, also would have amended certain laws governing voter registration, including cancelling the registration of deceased individuals and voters that have moved out of a given municipality.
Rep. Boyer’s bill was placed in legislative files — effectively killed — in the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee in late May.
A bill that would have required voters to present a picture ID when voting in person sponsored by House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor) was shot down by the 130th Legislature in June 2021.