Connecticut Public Radio, November 1, 2023
A Connecticut judge has overturned the results of Bridgeport’s Democratic mayoral primary, ordering a new election in a decision that comes just days before Bridgeport voters are slated to head to the polls on Nov. 7.
The election captured widespread public attention after a video surfaced online appearing to show a supporter of incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim stuffing stacks of papers into an absentee ballot drop box.
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
Superior Court Judge William Clark determined the allegations of possible malfeasance warrant throwing out the results of the Sept. 12 primary, which Ganim won by 251 votes out of 8,173 cast. Absentee ballots secured his margin of victory.
“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 wrote in his ruling, adding that the videos “are shocking to the court and should be shocking to all the parties.”
A new primary date has not been set yet.
Ganim’s opponent, John Gomes, whose campaign obtained the surveillance video and released it publicly after the primary, sued city officials and demanded a new primary, or for him to be declared the winner.
Despite the judge’s order, it’s not clear yet whether it will be necessary for Bridgeport to hold another primary. Lawyers for the parties told Connecticut Public that it depends on the outcome of next week’s general election.
Voters will head to the polls again on Tuesday to cast their ballots in the race for mayor. A Ganim victory would likely set the stage for another primary, the lawyers said.