By Jim Hᴏft
Mayoral candidate John Gomes’ campaign released a damning video on Saturday showing evidence of election fraud in the recent Bridgeport Democratic primary. The video has prompted an investigation by the Bridgeport Police Department for “possible misconduct.”
The video on the Gomes campaign’s Facebook page shows a woman dropping stacks of ‘illegal’ ballots into an absentee ballot box outside the Bridgeport government center, where the city’s Registrar of Voters office is located, CT Mirror reported.
The Gomes campaign was able to identify the woman in the footage as Wanda Geter-Pataky, the Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic Town Clerk and a vocal supporter of incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim, who is seeking reelection. Gomes’ campaign claims that the video shows Geter-Pataky dropping off stacks of absentee ballots ahead of the September 12th primary.
“Video surveillance proving that the mayoral election was unequivocally stolen through corruption within City Hall by tampering with absentee ballots,” John Gomes said on his Facebook page.
“This is an undeniable act of voter suppression and a huge civil rights violation. It’s time to restore lasting credibility to our city’s democracy. Once and for ALL. Enough is enough!” he added.
Gomes lost to incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim in the Democratic primary by a narrow margin of 251 votes, according to the most recent preliminary count posted on the Secretary of the State’s website. Ganim won the absentee vote tally 1,545 to 779, while Gomes led on the voting machines.
The Bridgeport Police Department confirmed that they are actively investigating the actions shown in the video.
“The Bridgeport Police Department are actively investigating information regarding possible misconduct based upon a video that has surfaced on social media,” the department told CT Mirror.
The police department is investigating how the video was obtained and released to the public.
“The Bridgeport Police Department immediately initiated an investigation to determine if any criminal wrongdoing has occurred. In addition, an internal investigation is being conducted to determine if any possible breach to our security video management system has occurred,” it added.
Bridgeport Police Chief Roderick Porter said the department takes “these actions seriously and we will pursue possible criminal prosecution and/or administrative discipline as it relates to any such security violations.”
“Geter-Pataky, who the Gomes campaign alleges is the woman in the video, is one of three individuals the SEEC recommended for criminal charges following an investigation into complaints about absentee ballot handling in Ganim’s tight 2019 primary against Sen. Marilyn Moore,” according to CT Mirror.
The news outlet continued, “As a result, the Gomes campaign is alleging that the video is evidence of a string of absentee ballot fraud in the city.”
More from CT Post:
Bridgeport has over the years had various examples of voter fraud or absentee ballot abuse, most recently in 2019’s Democratic mayoral primary, which Ganim again lost on the voting machines but won with mail-in votes, receiving 270 more than opponent state Sen. Marilyn Moore. Moore and her allies tried unsuccessfully to overturn those results in court.
Following a five-week-long trial, Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens ruled that while the case uncovered some level of fraud as well as major weaknesses in the absentee-ballot system that were exploited in the primary, there was not enough evidence to overturn Ganim’s victory.
“In summary, the plaintiffs were successful in identifying very serious election law violations, but the heat of this evidence is not hot enough to vacate the entire primary in the manner they sought,” Stevens said in a statement from the bench at the trial’s conclusion. Ganim, originally elected in 2015, subsequently handily won 2019’s November general election.
But as reported recently, the SEEC also investigated the 2019 primary and in June forwarded the names of three individuals involved in Ganim’s campaign to the office of Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin for possible criminal prosecution.
The SEEC’s referral to the chief state’s attorney stated there was “evidence of possible criminal violations undertaken.” Griffin’s office has since confirmed that case is pending.
According to Connecticut law, an individual can only drop off their own absentee ballot. They cannot drop off multiple ballots for other individuals unless they are an immediate family member or a designated agent, authorized by the voter to do so. (You can read it here.)
John Gomes’ mayoral campaign stated Friday afternoon that they had filed a complaint with the state Elections Enforcement Commission after being made aware of the video.
On Saturday, Gomes issued a press release calling for a rally to “End Absentee Ballot Abuse in Bridgeport.” Also, on Monday, he will hold a press conference at the campaign office.
One resident commented on Gomes’s post, “I am the Republican Mayoral candidate in Hamden and I was watching the coverage of the Primary. I said to my husband, wow this guy unseated Ganim. The lead was a large lead. The next morning, my husband texted me from work to say Ganim pulled through. My first thought was no way! I am not stuck on Political affiliations as some are. What’s fair is fair, and I can say this is unjust and unfair! I’m sorry this happened and I hope that you get to the bottom of it!”