Senate and House Republicans Issue Statement in Response to New Allegations in Bridgeport Scandal

Posted on March 15, 2024


HARTFORD, CT – Senate Republican Leader Stephen Harding, House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora, State Representative Gale Mastrofrancesco and Senator Rob Sampson, ranking members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, issued a statement Friday in response to new allegations revealed by Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas.

Thomas has made new referrals to the State Elections Enforcement Commission in connection with the February 2024 Mayoral General Election redo in Bridgeport.

Those referrals included reports from voters who received absentee ballots despite not requesting them; a voter reported an individual arrived at his home to help him with his ballot, had him sign unknown paperwork, and took his ballot; a report of a campaign offering cash in return for completed absentee ballots and suspicious activity at drop boxes discovered during review of footage from surveillance cameras.

This session, Sen. Sampson and Rep. Mastrofrancesco have co-sponsored SB 390, which calls for a mandatory one-year prison term for individuals found guilty of criminal elections violations. The legislation received a public hearing on Wednesday. Submitted written testimony was overwhelmingly in support of the bill, including a submission by the State Elections Enforcement Commission, which “wholeheartedly” supported it.

“The initial Bridgeport allegations were shocking enough, now there is a report of cash paid for absentee ballots. How many times do violations and fraud have to occur before the Democrat majority joins us in taking significant steps to deter bad actors from tampering with our elections? The penalties must be significant because our elections are too important to put in jeopardy,” said Sampson and Mastrofrancesco. “Right now, bad actors keep breaking our election laws because they have no fear of going to jail. Our laws need to have teeth so people will think twice before they engage in this activity. It is the only way to stop it.”

“The latest report about allegations of election ‘malfeasance’ out of Bridgeport, described today by Secretary Thomas, is a devastating reminder that our state offers bad actors the capacity to manipulate the outcome of our elections without fear. And why would they be afraid?  There’s no real threat of jail time, a situation that must change,” said Harding and Candelora. “Ensuring that residents have confidence in the integrity of our elections is a core responsibility of what we do, and if Democrats aren’t willing to lead on this issue right now by installing a mandatory penalty for criminal elections violations, they simply aren’t listening to Connecticut residents who are demanding—and certainly deserve—this level of reform.”