Light Wave


Judge calls for new Bridgeport primary after fraud evidence

By Jake Beardslee · November 2, 2023

In brief…

  • Court orders new mayoral primary after "shocking" video shows mishandling of ballots
  • Challenger John Gomes proved state election laws were violated, says judge
  • Ganim to remain on November ballot, redo primary may happen in December
  • Attorney says decision a "first step" in reforming absentee ballot processes
Superior Court judge orders new Bridgeport, CT mayoral primary after evidence shows absentee ballot mishandling and fraud in initial contest won by incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim.  Mag1059/Wikimedia

Bridgeport, CT - Superior Court Judge William Clark has ordered a new Democratic primary election for Bridgeport mayor after evidence of absentee ballot fraud was presented in a lawsuit filed by mayoral candidate John Gomes. The ruling overturns the initial primary victory by incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim.

Gomes’s attorney, Bill Bloss, provided evidence over two weeks of hearings showing city officials mishandling absentee ballots. This included police surveillance video that appeared to show the vice chair of the Democratic Town Committee, Wanda Geter-Pataky, depositing stacks of ballots at her city hall reception desk. The footage also showed former city council member Eneida Martinez dropping off multiple ballots at drop boxes. Both women invoked their Fifth Amendment rights when questioned about the video in court.

Judge Clark called the video evidence “shocking” in his 37-page ruling, the CT Examiner reports. He said it provided direct proof that state election law was violated by “unauthorized partisans” handling absentee ballots. Mayor Ganim testified that he was also shocked by the footage, and denied any involvement in fraudulent activity.

In addition to the videos, Gomes’s legal team argued many absentee ballots were improperly accepted without required time and date stamps. The court ultimately did not reject these ballots for minor technical issues.

The new ruling forces a redo of the mayoral primary between Ganim and Gomes. While no date has been set yet, Ganim will remain on the ballot for the November 7th general election. If he were to win that contest, the new primary would likely occur in December. A Gomes victory would make the redo primary unnecessary.

Gomes hailed the decision as “a victory for the people of Bridgeport” and for election integrity. His attorney Bill Bloss called it a “necessary first step” in reforming the city’s absentee ballot procedures. He suggested further investigation into potential criminal charges may follow.