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Blizzard Of Absentee Ballots In Tuesday’s Primary, Complaint Filed Against Andres Ayala Camp

August 11th, 2014 · 22 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, News and Events, State Politics

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.

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22 Comments so far ↓

  • Bob Walsh

    I would hope Maria and Scott have more than just one person talking about the “small envelope.”
    I would think if they could come up with a half-dozen workers being paid with CEF money to solicit illegal ABs, the state would look at this very seriously.
    I know the state can be very persuasive when it comes to investigating AB abuse. But with CEF money it becomes more egregious. Get some paid canvassers to admit they were told how to get people to fill out an application even if the canvasser knew they didn’t qualify, the state might agree to a slap on the wrist. If they can build a bigger case against the campaign misusing funds, this could get very ugly.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      “… workers being paid with CEF money to solicit illegal ABs, the state would look at this very seriously.”

      I don’t know about that, Bob.

  • donj

    I saw a comment Joel left on Moore’s fan page picture. “I hope that all residents of P.T. Barnum stop drinking the Bridgeport Democratic Party Machine’s unKool Aid they been drinking for years. The likes of Wanda Geter and others need to step aside and let PT decide who shall lead in our district. If Musto wants PT voters to vote for him, let him go there and make his case. I’m voting for Marilyn Moore not for more of the same.” lmao that made my night but you are 100 percent right, Joel.

    • Ron Mackey

      donj, why should they stop? The Republicans won’t come out there to PT Barnum Apartments to listen to their concerns. David Walker is a no-show to PT Barnum and how many times do you think Rick Torres goes there? donj, why don’t you go over there and tell them what you post and they should change?

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Musto is a patsy, a pawn for the machine. He hasn’t sponsored a single piece of credible legislation.

      Christina Ayala got her job through family connections. Now the people of her district are represented by an alcoholic with violent tendencies, a woman who fled the scene of an automobile accident.

  • BPT REBEL

    I sure would like to hear the taped copy of that conversation.

  • Bond Girl

    Pardon my ignorance, but what the cluck is a “small envelope?”

  • Maria Pereira

    Bond Girl, when you submit an absentee ballot application, the Town Clerk mails you a ballot, a “small envelope” and a larger return envelope. You have to complete your ballot, insert it into the “small envelope,” seal it, sign and date it and then you place the “small envelope” into the larger return envelope. The final step is to just mail it in.

  • invincible

    So if the small envelope goes into the larger envelope, how does that make it an illegal act?

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Absentee ballot fraud in Bridgeport? Nooo, say it ain’t so, Joe. This town is totally free of political corruption …

  • Jimfox

    Will the State Elections Enforcement Commission investigate if the absentee ballots are greater than the Machine count? Like in the 23rd and 128th?
    With a low turnout it’s possible, somewhere between 16-19%.

    GOTV!!!

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Every time there’s an election in Bridgeport, the issue of absentee ballot fraud comes up. Again and again and again and again. The only reason it continues is the apathy too many residents have toward the local political process. No one in PT, Greene’s Homes, Marina Village or Trumbull Gardens gives a shit as they believe (with more than a little justification) the occupants of City Hall and the City Council Chambers don’t give a rat’s ass about them.

    It is not really down to racism, although that must enter into it. The primary reason the residents of subsidized housing are overlooked is down to economics: they don’t own homes, don’t pay taxes. Why would Bill Finch care about them? Many people in Bridgeport are discriminated against because they are poor.

    • Ron Mackey

      The Bridgeport Kid, you said, “No one in PT, Greene’s Homes, Marina Village or Trumbull Gardens gives a shit.” That’s not true, they find a way to get out and vote because they do care but what are the choices, Republicans don’t give a damn and they aren’t even around. Then you said, “they don’t own homes, don’t pay taxes,” wrong again, they pay sales tax and they pay rent and as the taxes go up on the landlord, that cost is passed down to the renter.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I have a question. Ayala has approximately 2,000 absentee ballots, do you think any of the absentee people will vote using their second name that is legally allowed for Hispanics?
    Bpt Kid, the poor are definitely taken advantage of by the ruling party here in Bridgeport. They are taken advantage of by their deacons and their preachers who get benefits from the city in exchange for getting their church people out to vote Democratic.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Andrew,
      That is a part of the problem as well. Many churches in Bridgeport do many things to help the poor via soup kitchens, community suppers, distribution of donated clothing (many humble folks provide food to the homeless every Sunday under the 8/25 connector at John Street). The larger congregations are encouraged to vote the DTC line out of blind faith.

      While Bridgeport is entering an entrepreneurial phase, the long-term solution to poverty and despair is being ignored by the city’s elected leadership: creation of secure skilled and semi-skilled jobs that pay a living wage. The mayor’s office has done very little to attract industrial investment in the city, the kind of investment (manufacturing, research, shipping/receiving, etc.) that would put the local economy in the black. Most of the businesses that have recently opened are bodegas and take-out restaurants. Forty years ago this town was an industrial powerhouse; today the retail economy is sustained by EBT and WIC payments and the proceeds from criminal activity. Way to go, Mario Testa. If you had made some decisions that created jobs there wouldn’t be so many of your “friends” freeloading off the city’s payroll.

      • Andrew C Fardy

        Bpt Kid, I agree with you 100%. We went from an industrial beehive to nothing in 30 years. The only major company that has stayed and expanded is Lacy Manufacturing and we almost lost them.
        There is something else this and other administrations haven’t done and that’s getting kids of high school age ready for the work world. We warehouse them and teach them things that don’t matter at this point in their lives. The politician sit around wringing their hands and wondering why we have a 60%-plus dropout rate. The BOE through the mayor’s office should be offering real-life courses that keep kids interested and get them ready for work. All these past administrations talk about is college ready; well that is pure bullshit as the majority of our kids don’t go to college. Does that mean the kids who don’t go to college are dumb? No it doesn’t, it means we have failed to keep them engaged. It’s time for a change and we must start with Scott Hughes and Marilyn Moore and then send Malloy on his way in November.

      • Ron Mackey

        The Bridgeport Kid, you wrote, “Many churches in Bridgeport do many things to help the poor via soup kitchens, community suppers, distribution of donated clothing (many humble folks provide food to the homeless every Sunday under the 8/25 connector at John Street). The larger congregations are encouraged to vote the DTC line out of blind faith.” So what should be done if people are hungry, you don’t want them voting for the DTC line out of blind faith, so who should they vote for, Republicans who have no programs to help those in need? You make statements and ask questions but you have NO answers.

  • Coach T

    Man oh man, isn’t it always expected when an Ayala is in the mix, you will always get funny business? Guess that’s better than saying illegal … ooops.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    The Hispanic community should be ashamed to be represented by Andres Ayala and a few other Hispanics who have sold out and depend on absentee ballots to win an election thus keeping good people away from the ballot.

  • donj

    Bridgeport Kid is back! Last time I remember you posting was like in 2008, you were a big supporter of Grogins.

  • BPT REBEL

    I don’t have a horse in that race and I don’t care who wins but has anyone brought up innocent until proven guilty? No, no one has.

    I am not doubting Maria, but Ayala has been around forever and he is not a dumb man, and Maria has been known to pick a fight or three.

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