One day left. The final mail pieces, phone calls, door knocks are underway for Tuesday’s primaries. What you hearing out there? Absentee ballots could decide some races. The Town Clerk’s Office has mailed 1865 absentee ballots in the city (1151 returned as of Monday afternoon), a majority of them generated by the camp of State Senator Andres Ayala challenged by City Librarian Scott Hughes. Former Board of Education member Maria Pereira on Friday filed a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission claiming the Ayala campaign is abusing the absentee ballot process in violation of state law.
A few days ago, Pereira pointed out an example of the absentee ballot tactics of the Ayala campaign financed by public money, a declaration she shared with the Connecticut SEEC.
I was contacted by a woman from Andres Ayala’s campaign this afternoon. She called to make sure I was voting for him by mailing in my “small envelope.” I replied by asking what “small envelope?” She said, “Everyone that is voting for Andres Ayala is voting by the small envelope.” I asked, “Do you mean an absentee ballot?” She replied, “No, by the small envelope.” I explained, “There are only two ways to vote. You can go to a school and vote or you can vote by absentee ballot.” She replied, “No, everyone that is voting for Andres Ayala is voting by the small envelope.” She then stated, “You are on my list and you were supposed to get the small envelope in the mail.” I asked her, “Are you aware that there are only five specific reasons that someone can vote by mail and that what you are doing is completely illegal? You can be fined up to $5,000 and serve up to a year in prison if convicted of this felony.” I also told her I was going to file a complaint with the SEEC. The good thing is I got her name before I got immersed in our conversation. Here we have a CT State Senator using over $80,000 of taxpayer funds to pay his campaign employees to break a CT State Statute. This has to be an egregious violation of the SEEC.
Town Clerk Alma Maya and Democratic Registrar Sandi Ayala both say their offices have received many phone calls from voters wondering why they have received an absentee ballot. Campaign canvassers knock on doors, pitch their candidate and then say you can vote by mail sign here on the absentee ballot application. Presto, the voter receives an absentee ballot in the mail, followed up by a phone call reminder from the canvasser. Some voters may not remember signing the application. Or maybe the application was signed for them?
On Tuesday there’s a statewide Republican primary for governor between Tom Foley and John McKinney as well as a GOP primary for lieutenant governor that includes Bridgeport resident David Walker. McKinney has turned up the heat on Foley in the final days to try to close the polling gap. Will he surge at the end?
In addition we have four Democratic legislative races in the city.
In Connecticut’s 22nd Senatorial Marilyn Moore takes on incumbent Anthony Musto in the city-suburban district that includes about one third of Bridgeport, all of Trumbull and a portion of Monroe. Moore will perform best in Bridgeport, Musto in the suburbs.
In the 23rd Senatorial Hughes is hoping he will not be overwhelmed by Ayala’s absentee ballot operation. The district covers about two-thirds of Bridgeport and a portion of western Stratford.
In the 124th State House District school board member Andre Baker faces Ernie Newton who’s trying to reclaim the seat he once occupied. Political operatives say this race is shaping up as a close contest in the closing days.
In the 128th State House District incumbent Christina Ayala’s in a battle with the city’s anti-blight chief Chris Rosario, former corrections officer Teresa Davidson and city fire commissioner Dennis Bradley. Will absentee ballots decide this race as well?
Don’t know where you vote? Call the Registrar’s Office, 576-7281, or check out polling place link.