Secretary of State Stephanie Thomas held a press conference to address a developing absentee ballot scandal coming out of Bridgeport’s Democratic primary election between Mayor Joseph Ganim and challenger John Gomes, saying she believed it was a matter of a few “bad actors” and an “under-educated electorate,” rather than any systemic issues related to the absentee ballot process.

Video emerged from Bridgeport allegedly showing the same woman returning to an absentee ballot box several times depositing multiple ballots. Ganim was ultimately pushed to victory by absentee ballots, winning by only a few hundred votes, similar to his last primary victory which also drew scrutiny from voters.

“The public is correctly concerned and outraged, and I’m here today to let everyone know that our office takes the security of our elections extremely seriously and we strongly condemn any kind of election impropriety and malfeasance,” Thomas said.

“Election integrity is essential for public trust, and I would like to affirm my confidence in our state’s overall election security,” Thomas said. “This situation is not about partisan politics, it’s not about a broken electoral system, this isn’t even about absentee ballot systems. It’s about a few bad actors and an under-educated electorate.”

Thomas also used her time to address social media comments, indicating what her office can and cannot do, noting she cannot investigate alleged election fraud and imploring the State Elections and Enforcement Commission (SEEC) to move quickly to resolve the matter. Thomas also used the time to call for more funding for her office to do more voter education and warned about voter misinformation on social media.

“Most people don’t understand that our office has zero dollars provided for public information and outreach and I cannot stress enough that the best antidote for election impropriety and misinformation is an informed electorate,” Thomas said. “In the absence of education, inaccurate information, voters can easily be confused and taken advantage of. I hope that everyone outraged by this situation will join our fight to provide funding for our office to teach people not only how to vote and where to vote, but what scams to avoid.”

The Secretary of State’s Office hired a misinformation officer to monitor and flag social media for voting misinformation at a cost of $150,000 per year, which was included in the latest state budget.

While Thomas said this matter was limited to a few bad actors, Republicans in the House and Senate issued statements calling for suspending the use of absentee ballot boxes for the time being and said this is a prime example of why they were critical of the expanded use of absentee ballots, which became more common over the course of the pandemic.

“Over the last few years, Connecticut residents or Republican lawmakers who expressed concern or posed simple questions about the integrity of our state’s absentee balloting system have been immediately discredited as a matter of policy by Democrats who control all levers of state government,” said Republican House Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford. “Now, what’s alleged to have happened in Bridgeport ahead of the mayoral primary can’t be ignored—it’s right in the Democrat party’s lap, and it poses a direct threat to the public’s fragile confidence in our state’s voting process.”

“Connecticut Republicans sought to prevent voter suppression this year, but majority Democrats declined. Now it seems clear: the votes on the machines are meaningless when a cascade of potentially fraudulent absentee ballots overcome the will of the people,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, said. “As Bridgeport police investigate, we as state officials must also conduct a review of our absentee ballot and voter registration laws. We must restore confidence and integrity in our election process.”

Candelora called for suspending the use of absentee ballot boxes in the upcoming special session until the investigation is complete, while Kelly also called on Gov. Ned Lamont and the legislature to “fix what is broken immediately” in the special session.

Speaking outside a press conference today, Lamont reiterated his confidence in the current system and said he was waiting for the pending investigation, but wanted to pursue it aggressively. Lamont called for a special session to vote on his latest pick for the Connecticut Supreme Court.

A referendum vote to amend the Connecticut Constitution and allow for no-excuse absentee ballots is set to appear on the ballot next year. Secretary Thomas said that the measure should be passed and will allow for greater oversight of absentee ballots.

“That can actually help prevent malfeasance in a couple of ways,” Thomas said, adding that if absentee ballots are mailed to everyone, bad actors would have a harder time knowing who to target, and offered the idea of municipal election accountability boards, similar to Connecticut’s financial oversight boards for municipalities with historically bad finances.

“I hope the legislature will join us in thinking about policy solutions moving forward,” Thomas said. “And in the interim I urge every eligible voter to help protect the integrity of elections by first voting on November 7th, and secondly, if you see something, say something.”

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Marc worked as an investigative reporter for Yankee Institute and was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. He previously worked in the field of mental health is the author of several books and novels,...

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  1. CT Secretary of State Stephanie Thomas asserted that the current Bridgeport ballot scandal is the result of “bad actors” and an “undereducated electorate.”Interpretation: CT voters are too stupid to know when they are being had.

    As recently reported by PJMedia, “Bridgeport, CT has long been one of those cities that Democrat state-wide candidates can rely upon for “midnight magic”- those last minute miraculous discoveries of boxes of uncounted ballots that put them over the top in an election.”

    The article continued by referencing a widely circulated video recorded in 2012 which captured then Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch joking with then Senate candidate Chris Murphy. Murphy’s Republican opponent was Linda McMahon. In the video Finch states that, “Always, always.. .We may be a couple of days late, but you can be guaranteed you are going to get the votes.”

    No, Ms. Secretary of State, this recent fraud is not a glitch perpetrated by bad actors and an undereducated electorate. In my opinion those individuals and others like them are the minions of the Democrat Party. The State of CT and City of Bridgeport was just busted.

  2. Hmmmmm, seems like we have heard these types of accusations before. There was even video of persons stuffing ballot boxes at multiple locations in Georgia. The difference? The media did not care because it was for a greater cause; the defeat of Donald Trump.

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