Ganim: New election ‘asinine,’ despite ballot box scandal
As Bridgeport prepares to redo Tuesday’s election because of a ballot stuffing scandal, Mayor Joe Ganim called the move “asinine."
“What are we going to do – an election next month and in January and the month after that?” Ganim asked at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. “To do a primary again after a legitimate general election seems – excuse the word, but I'll use it – asinine."
Ganim defeated former aide John Gomes by a narrow 179 votes – propelled by a surge in absentee ballots.
But the election is unlikely to count. Last week, a judge tossed out the September primary for mayor, citing “shocking” videos showing Ganim supporters stuffing absentee ballot boxes.
A new primary means a rematch with Gomes, who claimed that the cheating goes on.
“We know they were playing the same tactics out there,” he said. “We received complaints on what was happening."
Some Bridgeport residents doubt the new election will be fair.
“Bridgeport’s a corrupt city, so politicians – everybody – is corrupt,” said Marvin Mouzer, of Bridgeport.
Others said they won’t vote at all.
“I don't vote for nobody because politicians ain’t no good out here,” another resident said.
Following the ballot scandal, turnout for Tuesday’s election was significantly lower than the September primary.
STATE ELECTION MONITOR
The state has hired an interim election monitor to oversee Bridgeport balloting. Peggy Reeves is a former lawmaker, state elections director and Wilton voter registrar.
But her powers are limited.
“One person can't be everywhere at once,” said Connecticut Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas. “An election monitor is just one person. And as you stated, some of the allegations have to do with issues like trading favors for votes.”
Despite the ballot scandal, the mayor still enjoys plenty of support.
“Ganim’s a better choice,” said Joe Morgan, of Bridgeport. “If they have security watching the box, I think that Ganim will win again.”
Under the judge’s order, the candidates and election officials have until Friday to agree on a new primary date.
Ganim could also appeal the ruling. If he’s successful, Tuesday’s results would be final.
No matter how the election gets sorted out, there could be criminal charges coming too. The State Elections Enforcement Commission has launched multiple investigations.