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Andres Ayala’s Mountain Of Absentee Ballots

July 25th, 2014 · 38 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, State Politics

Is there a book in the Bridgeport Public Library to school City Librarian Scott Hughes in the craft of absentee ballots? Quick Scott, take that book out. On Wednesday stretched-thin workers in the Town Clerk’s Office mailed out roughly 850 absentee ballots. And, with less than three weeks until the August 12 Democratic primary, they’re just warming up. Powered by two State Senate and two State House races, the absentee ballot action is piling up led by the campaign of incumbent State Senator Andres Ayala who’s not taking anything for granted to hold off a challenge by Hughes.

More than 600 of the absentee ballots mailed, according to a list compiled by the Town Clerk’s Office, blanket the 23rd Senate District with the majority of the absentee voters Latino. Andres Ayala certainly knows his serial absentee ballot voters, and his campaign peeps are working it pretty good. The district covers about two thirds of the city and a portion of western Stratford. The Bridgeport piece covers the East Side areas, central portion of the city down to the South End. Housing units on Central Avenue, Palisade Avenue and Maplewood Avenue are loaded with folks who’ll receive an absentee ballot, according to the list.

Ayala campaign canvassers systemically ask voters if they need an absentee ballot. The voters fill out an application that is dropped off at the Town Clerk’s Office. The ballot is then mailed to the voter.

Ayala is not alone in the absentee ballot action. The two State House primaries in the city fall within his Senate District including the 128th State House where his cousin Christina Ayala faces a tough test to keep her seat against party-endorsed Chris Rosario, city Fire Commissioner Dennis Bradley and newcomer Teresa Davidson. All four candidates in the race have qualified for public campaign funds, so that means more than $100,000 will be expended to reach voters in one of the smallest and lowest-performing voter districts in the state, covering the East Side and Hollow neighborhoods. Rosario, the city’s blight chief, has the backing of Mayor Bill Finch’s political operation. Rosario has relentlessly door-knocked the district and will have a whole bunch absentee ballots in the bank come primary day.

Christina Ayala for years has been at political war with City Councilwoman Lydia Martinez, the city’s queen of absentee ballots. Guess who queenie is supporting. Yup, Rosario. Christina’s not without a campaign operation. Her father Tito has been through city political wars for decades. Christina’s mother is Democratic Registrar Sandi Ayala.

In the city’s East End, in the State House battle between Moses and the undertaker, the absentee ballot action is heating up as well. Party-endorsed Ernie Newton, the self-proclaimed Moses of his peeps, is being tested by Board of Education member Andre Baker who owns a funeral home in the neighborhood.

The absentee ballot action creates a fascinating political dynamic of added value. All the candidates are working absentee ballot voters, some more than others. Andres Ayala’s political operation is working the absentee voters hard. As a result, what State House candidates will benefit from his work? His cousin Christina in the 128th State House race? Or Rosario? Does Andres Ayala’s work in the 124th State House district benefit Newton or Baker? Andres Ayala’s political operatives pushing just their candidate or others?

Sometimes it comes down to the candidates doing direct follow-up with with absentee voters through door knocks, mail and phone calls. Don’t forget about me!

In Connecticut, it’s against the law to help a voter fill out an absentee ballot (unless it’s a close family member or medical professional) but they can be persuaded just like any other voter before they fill out the ballot. Sometimes that persuasion includes some naughty assistance to fill out the ballot. Be careful, boys and girls.

In the 22nd Senate District featuring incumbent Anthony Musto and Marilyn Moore, the absentee ballot action is hot in and around the streets of the P.T. Barnum housing project that also features a senior housing complex nearby. Finch’s political organization is helping Musto. The mayor’s peeps have worked that area hard for several years to secure absentee ballot votes. This could be problematic for the Moore campaign if she starts primary day hundreds of votes down as a result of absentee ballots. It places a premium on her winning a higher machine total. The senate district covers Trumbull and portions of Bridgeport and Monroe. The city piece includes the North End, West Side and Black Rock areas.

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38 Comments so far ↓

  • charlie

    Can you go to jail for forged absentee ballots? Mr. Ayala had better be careful, they don’t have perks in jail!

  • Maria Pereira

    About three weeks ago an Andres Ayala canvasser rang my doorbell. By the time I reached the door he had walked down the street. I flagged him down and as he approached me he informed me he wanted to make sure I was able to vote for Andres Ayala and asked me if I needed an absentee ballot. I asked him why was he asking me if I needed an absentee, did I look ill or disabled. He replied he just wanted to make sure I could vote for Andres Ayala. I told him I do not vote for Bill Finch puppets and I absolutely will not vote for him. He replied by telling me he doesn’t work for Finch. I responded by telling him he works for the BBOE and rarely shows up for work. He said “Okay” and walked away.

    I emailed the address on the bottom of Ayala’s campaign literature about this incident, however not surprisingly I received no response.

  • Jim Callahan

    Who is the Dr. Strangelove responsible for unleashing the nuclear option?

  • Ron Mackey

    This goes to show Mayor Finch and the DTC chairman are really worried about Scott Hughes. They see Scott is gaining with the voters. City Librarian Scott Hughes is someone voters feel will listen to them and act on their concerns.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    If a person wants an absentee ballot, they should call the town clerk’s office and have it mailed to them. This wholesale handing out of absentee ballots is the only way many Dems can win an election.

    • Ron Mackey

      Andy Fardy, good point about the Democrats but let me take it further, Bridgeport is in the mess it is because of the Democrats and the Democratic Town Committee, which both of us have been on. Bill Finch didn’t want to run for mayor, he was happy as a state senator trying to be John Kennedy but no, the DTC chairman and supporters didn’t want Chris Caruso to be mayor so they pushed Finch on us. The real power is in the DTC 90 members but they are controlled by giving them jobs, commissions spots and if not for them then for their family and friends. There has been a change moving through Bridgeport with a number of pushbacks like the take ver of the BOE and with the DTC elections and with some fresh candidates running like Scott Hughes, Marilyn Moore and Andre Baker and others. Change is working its way here in Bridgeport, we must get out and support the change we want and stop talking about it. We have a primary and election coming up and we must get the vote out for that change.

  • David Moore

    Andrew, you have worked on enough campaigns to know better. No one can just “hand out” an absentee ballot. They have to be mailed to the voter. And absentee voters either have to be disabled, sick or unable to make it to the polls by being out of town or working at a polling place other than where they vote, unless the laws have changed since I moved last year which I doubt.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      You are right, I should have said supplication. Thanks, I know why absentees are in place but sadly they are misused here in Bridgeport. You saw the figures for the upcoming primary. Six hundred sick, disabled or can’t get to the polls. Really. Drive by a senior housing complex at night and see all the parked cars, drive by in the morning and they are all gone. Absentees are abused regularly, just ask Lydia Martinez.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Kudos to Dan Debicella, I just got back from Stop & Shop on Main St. I just saw two gentlemen of the black persuasion having people sign a petition for Debicella.

    Needless to say, anyone who knows me and my past Home Depot acumen, I had to engage in conversation. Well to my chagrin they started talking about the East Side and no grocery store. I said OMG, do you know Ron Mackey and Donald Day? They said no. I informed them these two gentlemen were also fighting for a grocery store and again stated, you think Jim Himes doesn’t agree with you? Most importantly, I said if you think the Mayor and the Congressmen are standing in favor of a grocery store, where do you think Mr. Debicella stands on the issue. Better yet, you imagine life on the East End will be better under Republican rule.

    Ironically, this same gentlemen stood in front of Walgreens a few years ago for Debicella. They informed me they were getting paid.

  • David Moore

    One can bet Lydia, the Queen of absentee ballots is probably up to her old probably illegal tricks. One thing that will need to be done is to check the addresses on the absentees with a fine-toothed comb. Many voters on the rolls are registered at abandoned buildings and in some cases nonexistent addresses and vacant lots. I hope someone is checking this.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      I called the SEEC and spoke with a staff attorney, in order to not suppress the vote for homeless people, any vacant lot or even parks are considered “homeless shelters” for voter registration purposes. This also includes parks.

      • Mustang Sally

        I have a bunch of yard signs I can park at Seaside. Can I register them to vote there? Who says signs don’t vote? If they are registered they will have the same right to vote as any of our still-active voters registered at Mountain View Cemetery, right? ;)

  • Baffled in Bridgeport

    No one is checking absentee ballots with a fine-toothed comb and no one will investigate a complaint if it’s filed or if they do, there is no enforcement. So the fraud continues unabated and the usual suspects remain in place unchecked. They’re not embarrassed or ashamed of their behavior because every AB delivered is more accumulated power. It’s a disgrace and another huge black eye for Bridgeport.

  • Phil Blagys

    Steven Auerbach, you need to get your city neighborhoods correct. The East Side (which has a Compare on East Main) is not the same as the East End.

    • Ron Mackey

      Phil Blagys, thanks for setting the record straight about neighborhoods. Steven Auerbach loves to put his spin on things, he keeps saying Donald Day and myself are pushing elected officials to put a “grocery store” in the East End when in fact Mr. Day gave a list of businesses that are not in the East End. Mr. Day made it known a chain supermarket could be placed in the East End like Stop& Shop on Fairfield Ave. near PT Barnum Apartments. Well these chain supermarkets are not only groceries but they have a bank and a pharmacy, but it makes him feel good to keep saying Don and myself want a grocery store in the East End, hey if that’s what he needs to make himself feel good, so it be.

      Mr. Blagys, although you ran and lost I hope you still stay involved.

      • Steven Auerbach

        Ron Mackey, do you intentionally misinterpret me, or are you just plain stupid? The conversation I had with the guys earlier was the truth, verbatim. They were pushing Debicella as though he were going to put a grocery store there. And I did mention you and Donald Day were fighting the same battle. Where did you not understand? Anyway Ron, it doesn’t matter. You’re the guy I can’t continue communicating with. It is apparent we have different agendas. I care for every corner of the City and you care for one section and one minority and pretty much that’s where it ends. Save your comments for me, I’m not going to engage or respond.

    • Steven Auerbach

      PHIL BLAGYS, I AM TOTALLY AWARE OF COMPARE MARKET. I SIT IN THERE WHEN I GO TO RAMIREZ’ OR FLAMBOYAN ACROSS THE STREET.
      Ron, did that little mistake when I couldn’t remember the difference between the Dunbar Tisdale school area as opposed to the Barnum Waltersville area. Trust me there is not one corner of the City I have not walked, talked and felt right at home.

      Sidebar: I expect a Musto sign on my lawn by the time I am back from my camping trip. Is any Musto Musto Musto supporter reading this??? I know you are. Please get it here ASAP.

      I do not think a debate is going to change my mind.

      .

      • LennieGrimaldi

        Steve, have you called the Musto campaign for a sign?

        • Steven Auerbach

          Oh Lennie, funny you should say that as Musto people were here the other day as well as my neighbor a supporter of Musto and I was actually going to call Anthony Musto this afternoon but I got caught up getting stuff ready for camping. I did have Finch signs and Musto as well as Mary-Jane Foster, Murphy etc. I used to save signs but now my collection is limited. I sent my Obama signs to my cousin in Dallas Texas just to piss her off. The rest I threw away.:-) I have a million Mary Moran pins, any collectors? My pleasure. It takes a winner to come from behind … classic.

  • Maria Pereira

    I believe there will be a ballot question in November. It would allow anyone, for any reason, to vote early. This will level the playing field in Bridgeport elections. If it is on the ballot, I am supporting it.

  • Maria Pereira

    Here is a link to the constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in November. It will allow any registered voter to vote early, not just because you are ill, disabled, out of town, in the military, etc.
    courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/connecticut-senate-gives-final-approval-to-constitutional-amendment-on-early-voting/

    • John Marshall Lee

      Maria,
      Thank you for raising this to our early attention. It is likely there will be another question on the City ballot based on an explanation provided to the ECD&E group last week, though I was confused by the explanation provided and do not have a copy of the action. However I expect it will be among the issues on the consent calendar for August 4, 2014. Good subjects for OIB articles? Time will tell.

  • BOE SPY

    Why is it when Republicans try to tighten the regs on absentee ballots it is disenfranchising voters, now that the laws are so loose they are unenforceable you are all about ‘voter fraud’?.

  • Maria Pereira

    SPY, who was the comment regarding “voter fraud” directed to?

    • BOE SPY

      The voter fraud comment was directed toward the allegations absentee ballots have some degree of fraud attached. Per Jennifer Buchanan’s comment: homeless people who live in the park or a vacant building can register and vote from that address. How does one verify these people exist and that vote is valid?

      There have been allegations elderly people are signing the forms and the canvasser is filling them out.

      Why? Who did you think the comment was directed to?

  • Bridgeporteur

    Andres and Lydia have made a practice of resourcing Pivot House on Shelton Street and their Alternative Incarceration Center residents to canvass the East Side and bring in the votes. Rather a questionable practice indeed. Pivot House gets a vacant property on Pembroke Street from Bank of America through the City’s community development office. Who knows what other payoffs? This is pervasive.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Ron Mackey, as always you are “spot on.” I long for the time when you and other like-minded, honest intelligent people were active.

    • Ron Mackey

      Lisa Parziale, I spoke with Scott Hughes yesterday and I told him due to the two knee replacements I’ve had, I’m not able help the way I used to do but I would help by trying to identify voters here in Seaside Village, through different organizations I’m involved with and at church. This is first time out running I feel I must help him and also Marilyn Moore, both are great candidates who will lead and not follow once they are elected. It’s going to be a fight but it’s a fight we can win but we all must do whatever we can. Thanks Lisa, I’ve learn a lot from you and Ed Gomes, Mary Bruce, Bob Walsh and Chris Caruso.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Keep waiting Lisa, the second coming is just around the corner. Just before hell freezes over. Btw Lisa, loved you on Ray Donovan the other night. Or was that Ann-Margret?

  • Lisa Parziale

    Steve, Ron’s right, you really don’t know him. I’ve been involved in Bridgeport issues and gladly dedicated 20 years of my life as a public servant. I came up with men and women like Ron and I miss working with them. I’m sorry Ron for the physical challenges you’re facing, and I know you’re doing what you do best, still fighting the good fight. Steve, you are a nice person, intelligent, informed and I know you care about Bridgeport. I admire your honest opinions; and never forget, you’re entitled to them.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Lisa, thank you. Do we ever really know anybody? Ron is correct, I really do not know him other than sparring with him on this blog. He really does not know me either other than I am supporting Musto, disgusted with Marina Village replacement housing downtown, I support Steelepointe and I think Scott Hughes would be a nice asset and give the people a good choice. I respect Ayala. I did mention I support Musto and I do not support Moore? I just got home from a fantastic camping trip and I am very grateful my mother arrived home safely from Amsterdam after three weeks of traveling via cruise to Germany Russia Scandinavia and all the places where there is turmoil. It is very scary when a senior parent is cruising around while terrorists are having a field day. Bottom line, we really do not know each other and I guess of all the political campaigns I have ever worked on, I really never knew any of the people I worked with. All I know is sometimes we have a common goal and sometimes we are on opposite sides of the fence. I enjoy that. It is called politics and you cannot please all of the people all of the time.

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