Voters in one Connecticut community are scheduled to go to the polls next week in a mayoral election for which the results of the Democratic primary were thrown out Wednesday.
Superior Court Judge William Clark tossed out the results of a Sept. 12 primary in Bridgeport after video emerged showing an individual who was alleged to have been a supporter of Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim stuffing multiple ballots in an absentee ballot drop box.
Ganim defeated challenger John Gomes by 251 votes, trailing him in the in-person voting but riding the absentee ballots to victory, according to 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.”
Connecticut law requires that only a voter or a voter’s designee can drop a ballot in an absentee ballot collection box.
The case went to court after Gomes sued to have the results of the primary thrown out.
“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 has no authority to halt an election, so voting is still set for Tuesday, according to the Hartford Courant.
“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.”
Ganim is on the Democratic line, while Gomes is running as an independent candidate in the general election. The ballot also includes Republican David Herz and petitioning candidate Lamond Daniels.
No date has been set for a new primary.
Clark ordered all parties to meet with election officials within 10 days to determine what takes place, according to WNPR.
Ganim urged his supporters to turn out on Election Day.
“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.