HARTFORD, CT – State Sen. Rob Sampson and State Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco, Republican ranking members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, issued a statement Monday after multiple media reports revealed the possible illegal stuffing of an absentee ballot box in Bridgeport.
Multiple media sources reported over the weekend that surveillance footage showed a woman walking up to a ballot box outside of Bridgeport City Hall on multiple occasions to stuff papers inside. The Bridgeport Police Department has launched a criminal investigation as a result. During the Democrat mayoral primary in Bridgeport, incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim defeated his primary opponent John Gomes by about 251 votes after absentee ballots were tabulated last Tuesday.
Both Sen. Sampson and Rep. Mastrofrancesco have repeatedly voiced concerns about the expanded use of absentee ballots without proper security protocols and the heightened potential for fraud. Despite both lawmakers offering commonsense solutions and legislation to secure the process, such as prohibiting the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballots, verifying signatures on ballots, or placing the ballot boxes in a place where they can be continually monitored, the Democrat majority in the House and Senate blocked their proposals on party lines.
Democrats have repeatedly dismissed the issue of absentee ballot fraud as baseless. Yet, the release of the security footage shows the validity of the concerns of Sen. Sampson and Rep. Mastrofrancesco.
“We have continually made it clear that the expanded use of mail-in ballots and no excuse absentee ballots without the necessary checks for integrity is ripe for fraud. Unfortunately, this incident in Bridgeport illustrates why we continue to raise the alarm year after year,” said Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco. “The integrity of the electoral process demands that it be free of tampering so that voters have faith in the system. Incidents like these only add to the suspicions of corruption. This incident needs a full, transparent and thorough investigation.”
“The multiple reports and related footage of alleged absentee ballot-stuffing in Bridgeport confirms my worst fears for how these ballots can be abused. I want to see a thorough, impartial investigation to detail exactly what happened, and how many bad actors were involved. If this is indeed criminal misuse of absentee ballots, I am calling on our Secretary of the State to conduct a statewide investigation to determine the pervasiveness of this criminal behavior,” Sen. Rob Sampson said. “For years, I have warned of the consequences of irresponsible expansion of absentee balloting. I have also introduced, year after year, measures to ensure confidence in our elections, and that every legal voter can access a ballot.”
He continued, “What we saw in Bridgeport, if proven true, is a crushing blow to the people’s confidence in our elections. Democrat voters in Connecticut’s largest city have potentially been disenfranchised. If we do not change our policy, our elections–both past and present–will be questioned.”
As ranking member of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, Sen. Sampson has maintained a consistent position on the measured use of absentee ballots in Connecticut:
Rep. Mastrofrancesco has also raised the alarm about the use of absentee ballots in the past: