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Four people have been charged in a case of misconduct during elections in a Connecticut city

On Tuesday, four people running for mayor of Connecticut’s largest city were charged with allegedly misusing absentee ballots.

The state charges stem from Bridgeport’s 2019 Democratic primary and are separate from allegations of misconduct during the city’s 2023 mayoral election, which resulted in a judge ordering an emergency rerun of the primary.

The defendants are Wanda Geter-Pataky, a Bridgeport Democratic Party official; and Alfredo Castillo, city councilor; with Nilsa Heredia and Josephine Edmonds. The charges include illegal possession of absentee ballots.

“I hope these charges send a message that will deter future election fraud in Connecticut,” Patrick Griffin, Connecticut’s chief state attorney, said in a statement announcing the charges.

While the 2019 case was under investigation, “allegations of election misconduct have resurfaced in Bridgeport, this time drawing national attention,” Connecticut Public Radio reported on the 2023 contest following the release of surveillance footage that apparently featured Geter-Pataky and others improperly putting ballots into drop boxes, the judge found that the original 2023 primary was “seriously undermined” and ordered a new election.

None of the four defendants in the 2019 case responded to requests for comment from various media outlets in Connecticut.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, a Democrat, was ultimately re-elected in the 2019 and 2023 elections. He was convicted in 2003 on federal corruption charges during an earlier term as mayor.

Republican state lawmakers have used Bridgeport’s recent election scandals to call for universal voting measures in the Democratic-led state. Proven cases of voter fraud are rare in US elections.

Copyright 2024 NPR