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Four Democratic campaign workers charged with voter fraud in Connecticut for mishandling mail-in ballots

"I hope these prosecutions will send a message that deters tampering with election results in the future," said U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Griffin.

trabajadores de campaña demócratas en Bridgeport, Connecticut

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Four Democratic campaign workers in Bridgeport, Connecticut, face criminal charges for alleged absentee ballot fraud during the 2019 Democratic Mayoral primary.

According to the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice statement, after complaints were made about improper handling of votes in the primaries, the Connecticut Secretary of State referred the case to the State Election Enforcement Commission (SEEC). This civil investigation led to criminal charges against Alfredo Castillo (52 years old), Wanda Geter-Pataky (67 years old), Nilsa Heredia (61 years old) and Josephine Edmonds (62 years old), all residents of Bridgeport.

Specification of charges

The defendants face a variety of serious charges related to absentee ballot tampering, a voting method that allows voters to cast their ballot without being physically present at the polling place on Election Day.

Edmonds, Geter-Pataky and Heredia were charged with witness tampering, while Geter-Pataky, Castillo and Heredia also face charges of misrepresenting absentee voting eligibility requirements. Castillo, Edmonds and Heredia are also accused of not having maintained an adequate absentee ballot distribution list.

Edmonds and Heredia were also singled out for being present during the execution of absentee ballots, a clear violation of local regulations. Finally, Geter-Pataky and Castillo face accusations of failing to properly sign as assistants on absentee ballots as required by law.

"Integrity of our voting process is vital to our democracy (...) I hope these prosecutions will send a message that deters tampering with election results in the future in Connecticut," said U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Griffin.

Post-primary revelations

Following the Democratic mayoral primary in Bridgeport in 2019, a journalistic investigation revealed significant problems with absentee ballots cast for Joseph Ganim. Despite losing in in-person voting to Marilyn Moore, Ganim managed to secure victory thanks to a more significant number of absentee votes. However, residents in nursing homes reported pressure from Ganim's workers to vote for him absentee, even when they preferred Moore. Additional irregularities were found, such as unregistered people voting, errors in registration, and ballots received after the deadline.

Following these revelations, a thorough investigation was launched that ultimately led to the recent arrests of the accused campaign workers. The defendants were released on their own recognizance and are expected to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on June 24, 2024.