The mayoral election in question is slated to take place the following week in a Connecticut community. On Wednesday, the outcomes of the Democratic primary were cast out of consideration.
The outcomes of a Bridgeport primary held on September 12 were nullified by Superior Court Judge William Clark subsequent to the disclosure of video evidence depicting an individual purportedly affiliated with Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim cramming multiple ballots into an absentee ballot drop box.
Ganim emerged victorious over challenger John Gomes by a margin of 251 votes, surpassing him in the absentee ballots despite underperforming in the in-person voting, as reported by WNPR-FM in Connecticut.
“The volume of ballots so mishandled is such that it calls the result of the primary election into serious doubt and leaves the court unable to determine the legitimate result of the primary,” Clark said in his ruling.
The results, he wrote, “are shocking to the court and should be shocking to all the parties.”
Voters or their designees are the only individuals authorized to place ballots in absentee ballot collection boxes, per Connecticut law.
Proceeding to litigation, Gomes filed an appeal seeking the nullification of the primary results.
“At the end of the day, the videos don’t lie,” said lawyer Bill Bloss, who represented Gomes.
“The videos showed substantial, massive absentee ballot misconduct,” he said. “And that was certainly a substantial reason why the judge ruled the way he did, I think.”
This is the OUTRAGEOUS video of the Democrat Clerk stuffing illegal ballots into the City drop box and visiting it multiple times in one day
— George (@BehizyTweets) November 1, 2023
“This is a victory for the people of Bridgeport,” Gomes said, according to The Associated Press. “Our campaign always believed that the integrity of our democratic process must be upheld, and Superior Court Judge William Clark agreed.”
The judge lacks the authority to suspend an election, so according to the Hartford Courant, voting is still scheduled for Tuesday.
“The result of next week’s general election will determine what happens next,” the outlet reported. “If Gomes wins, his attorney William Bloss said, he would withdraw the complaint, and Gomes would be mayor. If Ganim wins Tuesday’s election, another Democratic primary will take place, according to Clark’s order.”
Gomes is competing for the general election as an independent candidate, whereas Ganim is a Democratic candidate. Additionally, Republican David Herz and petitioning candidate Lamond Daniels are on the ballot.
No date for a new primary has been established.
WNPR reports that Clark ordered all parties to confer with election officials within ten days in order to determine the outcome of the election.
On Election Day, Ganim exhorted his supporters to participate.
“Let’s send a powerful message that we want to keep the progress going in Bridgeport,” he said.
Clark was nominated to the bench by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont in 2021, according to Only in Bridgeport.