BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Police in Bridgeport are investigating claims of possible misconduct in last week’s Democratic primary mayoral election after video surfaced of a woman allegedly stuffing ballots into a drop box.
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim spoke on-camera for the first time to News 8 about the ballot controversy, saying that he stands for the integrity of this process and the matter is being looked into.
“The things that I’ve seen that have come to light still have to be resolved,” Ganim said. “I’m not happy with what I’ve seen.”
Ganim said they will get to the bottom of allegations that a city employee interfered in the race against him and John Gomes.
“We’ll get to the bottom of what happened, clearly, and make sure integrity stands tall and that we move forward to the November election, and hopefully another good four years for the city of Bridgeport,” Ganim told News 8.
The allegations stem from a video shared by John Gomes, a Democratic mayoral candidate. While Gomes did not reveal how he got the video, he claims it shows a city employee stuffing absentee ballots into a drop box several times one week before the primary.
According to initial election results, Ganim appeared to have received 51% of the votes.
“In regards to what might have been contained in the video, whether it’s accurate or manipulated, or whether it’s been stolen, that’s not comfortable for anybody,” Ganim told News 8.
Gomes and his team could not say how many ballots they suspect were deposited but said on Monday that it was fistfuls at a time.
“This is bigger than John Gomes for mayor,” Gomes said. “This is about the oppression of the people of Bridgeport.”
Bridgeport police are now investigating what was purported in the video and any possible breach of its security management system.
News 8 has learned a city employee has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Their name has not yet been released.
Ganim said he wants to ensure voters “feel comfortable when they come out to vote and their votes count.”
Gomes also took legal action by filing a complaint in court on Tuesday.
“When there’s evidence that ballots have been counted that should not have been counted, or there were absentee ballot issues that shouldn’t be issued, the remedy is to go to court and ask a judge to take a look at it and order a new primary or even declare a winner,” said William Bloss, an attorney representing Gomes. “That is a power of a judge under law.”
Several complaints have been filed with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission. We’ll learn if the commission will investigate the allegations on Wednesday when it meets.