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Connecticut Prosecutors Arrest 4 Democrats For Allegedly Misusing Absentee Ballots

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Connecticut prosecutors charged four Democrat operatives on Tuesday for allegedly misusing absentee ballots during the city of Bridgeport’s 2019 Democrat mayoral primary.

“Integrity of our voting process is vital to our democracy,” Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin said in a statement announcing the charges. “I hope these prosecutions will send a message that deters tampering with election results in the future in Connecticut.”

The Bridgeport residents arrested Tuesday include Alfredo Castillo, a Bridgeport city councilman, and Wanda Geter-Pataky, the vice chair of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee. Also charged are Nilsa Heredia and Josephine Edmonds, “two other campaign workers who were involved in the 2019 election between Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and his Democratic challenger Marilyn Moore,” according to local media.

The presser released by Griffin’s office show these individuals have been charged with “Unlawful Possession of Absentee Ballots,” with all but Castillo also being charged with witness tampering.

An arrest warrant affidavit cited by Griffin’s office accuses Geter-Pataky “of failing to sign as an assister on an absentee ballot application that she had filled out on behalf of a prospective voter and misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot when she reportedly told a citizen not to vote in person and that she would pick up the citizen’s absentee ballot.” The citizen in question, according to Griffin’s office, “later told [state] investigators that the defendant told her not to speak to anyone about the matter.”

Meanwhile, “[c]ourt records show Heredia [allegedly] instructed prospective voters on which candidate to select on their absentee ballots and misrepresented eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot.” Heredia reportedly confessed to state investigators that “she did not submit an absentee ballot distribution list to the City of Bridgeport Clerk’s Office.”

Arrest warrant affidavits for Castillo and Edmonds also indicate purported election crimes.

The former is accused of “failing to maintain an absentee ballot distribution list, misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot and failing to sign as an assister on an absentee ballot application in August 2019.” When deposed by state officials in October 2021, the city councilman allegedly “denied helping the prospective voter fill out the application but later admitted he had filled out portions of the application.”

Edmonds is accused of “being present when four prospective voters filled out their absentee ballots and took possession of them when she left their home,” as well as “failing to maintain an absentee ballot distribution list and tampering with a witness for having told her not to testify truthfully in court,” according to Griffin’s office.

These individuals are expected to be arraigned in court on June 24.

Geter-Pataky’s name should sound familiar to those who read about a separate absentee ballot scandal that rocked Bridgeport’s Democrat mayoral primary last year.

As The Federalist’s Mark Hemingway previously reported, surveillance video released following the city’s September Democrat mayoral primary allegedly showed Geter-Pataky — who was affiliated with Ganim’s campaign — stuffing ballot drop boxes. The incident came weeks after Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission recommended Geter-Pataky, Castillo, and Heredia be criminally charged for their alleged actions during the aforementioned 2019 mayoral primary.

In his Nov. 1 decision, Superior Court Judge William F. Clark determined there was, as Hemingway summarized, “merit to accusations that Bridgeport’s incumbent mayor, Joe Ganim, won his election as a result of significant fraud involving absentee ballots.” This prompted Clark to order a new primary be held if Ganim won the general election, which he did later that month. Ganim won the do-over primary in January and went on to win the subsequent general election the following month.


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