END ABSENTEE BALLOT ABUSE IN BRIDGEPORT!

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We, the undersigned people and neighbors of Bridgeport, demand that the Office of the Secretary of the State of Connecticut order supervised absentee balloting in our 2019 municipal elections in Bridgeport. 

A healthy democracy requires that we the voters have confidence that our elections are a reflection of the will of the people. The Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission was formed to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. Yet election rules should be enforced in real time, not just with retroactive fines.

Bridgeport has a long and well-documented history of election interference and fraud, with an alarming number of fines levied by the Secretary of State’s office. (1) Secretary Merrill has known this is an issue for at least eight years. In 2011, Secretary of State Denise Merrill said publicly “she'd like to make reforms that could prevent absentee voter fraud.” (2) Yet, in May of 2019, in response to calls for supervised absentee balloting from candidates in our special election for state representative, her office said “the state’s top election official does not have the authority to order a municipality to conduct supervised absentee balloting.” (3) In fact, according to Section 9-3b, Chapter 141 of our state statutes, Secretary Merrill does have the authority. (4) 

She should - and must - have the political will to address this problem. 

The fines do not work. We see absentee ballot abuse and misuse in every single municipal election. We, the people of Bridgeport, do not have confidence that our elections are fair. The Bridgeport Registrar of Voters refuses to increase supervision of elections, further undermining trust in our democracy. (5) We need the State to step in where our local government has failed.  

You must take the power away from election abusers and give it back to the people of Bridgeport!

 

1. “Absentee Ballot Research,” by Adhlere Coffy and Niels Heilmann, www.bptgennow.org/democratic-empowerment 2017 

2. “Absentees: Early ballots bring victories, sometimes fraud,” Keila Torres Ocasio and Michael P. Mayko, Connecticut Post, October 25, 2011

3. “Bridgeport special election candidates request increased oversight of absentee ballots,” Neil Vigdor, Hartford Courant, May 3, 2019

4. Chapter 141, General Provisions, Title 9, Section 9-3b, Connecticut State Statutes, https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_141.htm#sec_9-3 

5. Candidates cast suspicion on absentee ballot votes in Santiago race,” Brian Lockhart, Connecticut Post, May 3, 2019