It took conscience, courage, cameras, and a court to overturn the results of the corrupted Sept. 12 Bridgeport, Connecticut Democrat mayoral primary election.
The conscience and courage came from the as-yet-unidentified whistleblower who provided the incriminating footage to the public.
The video is public property. Nonetheless, the Bridgeport Police Dept. is conducting an investigation to find out who leaked it and to determine if the action constituted any criminal wrongdoing.
The cameras surveilling the drop boxes belong to the city of Bridgeport and are monitored by the city police.
“The volume of evidence in this case, including the many hundreds of hours of video surveillance disclosed and accepted, is, perhaps, unprecedented in the State of Connecticut in an election case,” wrote Judge William Clark in his Nov. 1, 2023 decision to nullify the election's outcome and order a redo.
“The videos are shocking to the court and should be shocking to all parties,” he said.
The defendant in the case is Town Clerk Charles Clemons.
Judge Clark noted that all parties in the case agreed that the many hours of video were authentic. He wrote that the issue of fact that the court had to decide was whether, based on the record as presented, enough ballots were mishandled to conclude that the reliability of the results of the election was seriously in doubt.
The court concluded that based on the video footage, documents, and testimony in the case, there were enough absentee votes mishandled by unauthorized people to make it impossible to determine the legitimate winner, and therefore, the judge declared the Democrat primary election for mayor of Bridgeport invalid.
Surveillance Cameras Tell the StoryThe Gomes campaign reviewed thousands of hours of footage from cameras that surveilled four drop boxes 21 days ahead of the Sept. 12 primary. The video presented to the court showed that over the 21 days, people deliberately approached the dropboxes 420 times.
According to data presented to the court by Gomes campaign manager Christine Bartlett-Josie, and incorporated in Judge Clark’s decision, there were at least 1,253 and as many as 1609 ballots cast via drop boxes. As a result, the number of absentee ballots picked up from the boxes by election workers was three to four times greater than the number of people who were filmed using the boxes.
A review of the videotape showed one individual visiting the boxes ten times and inserting bundles of envelopes believed to be ballots. A second individual was caught on tape five times doing the same thing.
A History of Problems with Absentee BallotsCheating by illegally harvesting absentee ballots has been going on in Bridgeport even before the drop boxes first came into use during the COVID-19 pandemic through an emergency powers order issued in May 2020 by Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat.
In 2019, the State Elections Enforcement Commission began an investigation and four years later recommended criminal charges for the mishandling of absentee ballots by three of Mr. Ganim’s supporters in the 2019 Democrat primary.
Last year, a new Democrat primary was ordered because of the mishandling of absentee ballots in a state representative race.
Except for very narrow, statutorily specified, practical, circumstances, it is illegal in Connecticut for anyone other than the voter to touch an absentee ballot.
The relevant statute reads in part, “No person shall have in his possession any official absentee ballot or ballot envelope for use at any primary, election, or referendum, except the applicant to whom it was issued,” or the other specified individuals such as postal workers, election clerks, or designated immediate family members.
The Connecticut Supreme Court (CSC) opined that the governing statute, “reflects a clear legislative intent to maintain distance between partisan individuals and the casting and submission of absentee ballots, undoubtedly in recognition of the potential undue influence, intimidation, or fraud in the use of those ballots.”
The CSC has also held that, “The return of ballots in a manner not substantially in compliance with (the statute) will result in their invalidation, regardless if there is any proof of fraud.
“The validity of the ballot, therefore, depends not on whether there has been fraud, but on whether there has been substantial compliance with the mandatory requirements.”
That means that, in Connecticut, a substantive violation of an election law is sufficient to render the ballots that are affected by it null and void. That, in turn, may result in the election being invalidated if the violations are deemed extensive.
Addressing the argument that, when a court sets aside election results due to the illegal handling of some absentee ballots, the other voters would be thereby disenfranchised, the CSC stated, “If there is to be disenfranchisement, it should be because the legislature has seen fit to require it in the interest of an honest suffrage (election) and has expressed that requirement in unmistakable language.”
Brazen Lawbreaking RecordedThe potentially illegal activity recorded by the surveillance cameras at the four Bridgeport drop box locations has added credence to the claims of election investigators across the country that such fraud is widespread.
Filmmaker and election integrity investigator Dinesh D’Souza told The Epoch Times, “It seems like Democrats perfected these election fraud techniques a while ago. They have been using them even in Democratic primaries.
Substantial Evidence of Extensive WrongdoingReferring to the huge amount of evidence presented in the Gomes case, Judge Clark wrote, “The parties have not cited, and the court has not located, any case involving the number of election law violations and the volume of supporting evidence that has been presented here.”
In making his decision to order a redo of the primary, Judge Clark noted that a trial court has no authority to postpone a general election, so the Nov. 7, 2023, general election was conducted despite the controversy.
The judge said that based on case law an invalid primary yields an invalid general election. The judge's solution was to schedule a new primary for the Democrat candidates for mayor.
The currently-recognized winner of the Sept. 12 Democrat primary was incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim, who was the party-endorsed candidate. His top primary opponent was John Gomes.
Mr. Gomes won the in-person machine vote 3,100 to 2,648. Mr. Ganim won the absentee ballot vote 1,564 to 861 for Mr. Gomes. The margin of victory for Mr. Ganim in the primary was 251 votes.
It is unclear why Mr. Ganim outperformed Mr. Gomes by almost 2 to 1 among absentee voters instead of the tally bearing somewhat of a proportional resemblance to the tally of the machine voters.
As a testimony of the effectiveness of two known ballot harvesters who said they supported Mr. Ganim, the percentage of voters casting absentee ballots in the two voting districts under their charge was exponentially higher than in each of the other eight districts.
One of the workers is on record as having signed the envelopes of 369 absentee voters whom she personally assisted in some way. A helper’s signature is required by state law.
Election OutcomeIn the general election on Nov. 3, Mr. Ganim ran as the designated Democrat nominee, narrowly defeating Mr. Gomes, who ran as an independent.
Just as in the primary, Mr. Gomes won the in-person vote, but Mr. Ganim trounced Mr. Gomes by winning the absentee vote 1,166 to 429, thereby pulling off a victory by an unofficial 175 votes.
If Mr. Ganim wins the do-over primary, he will be recognized as the officially elected mayor. In the event that Mr. Gomes wins the new primary, a new general election will be required.
As of press time, the city of Bridgeport has not announced whether or not it will appeal Judge Clark's decision.