BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — The legal proceedings surrounding allegations of absentee ballot misconduct in the Bridgeport Democratic mayoral primary continued in court on Thursday.
Witnesses, including a Bridgeport police captain and the city’s assistant town clerk, responded to questions about the city’s absentee ballot drop boxes, the security cameras watching over them, and the handling of absentee ballots and absentee ballot applications.
At the heart of the Gomes campaign’s legal claims are allegations that multiple individuals improperly collected and submitted absentee ballots. These allegations were first leveled in mid-September when the Gomes campaign released videos claiming to show supporters of incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim placing stacks of envelopes into ballot drop boxes.
Attorney Bill Bloss, representing candidate John Gomes, asked most of the day’s questions. The hearing began with testimony from a Bridgeport police captain who oversees the city’s Fusion Center, the centralized facility where surveillance footage from around Bridgeport is aggregated and stored.
The surveillance footage that initially sparked the Gomes campaign’s legal action is believed to have originated from the Fusion Center, and both camps have received thousands of additional hours of footage as part of the lawsuit.
Bloss also called Bridgeport’s assistant town clerk, who oversees much of the absentee ballot process. His inquiries revolved mainly around establishing exactly how many absentee ballots were submitted via ballot drop boxes and the city’s practices related to requesting, distributing, and collecting absentee ballots.
The number of ballots placed in drop boxes will be crucial to proving the Gomes campaign’s claims that ballot misconduct involving drop boxes was pervasive enough to justify ordering a new Democratic primary.
The day’s final witness was Bridgeport’s Democratic Registrar of Voters, yet another local official who plays a crucial role in physically counting all of the ballots cast in September’s primary.
While the questions to each of these three witnesses focused mainly on the procedural and clerical, upcoming testimony will likely drive to the heart of the alleged ballot misconduct. Bloss told the court Thursday that he had subpoenaed Wanda Geter-Pataky and Mayor Joe Ganim.
Geter-Pataky is a Ganim supporter who is allegedly the individual shown on video stuffing stacks of envelopes into a ballot drop box outside a Bridgeport government building.
News 8 cannot independently verify the authenticity of the leaked surveillance footage or the identity of those allegedly involved.