Pass The Espresso, Sleepy Election Officials To Confirm City Totals On A Long Night

BRV counting
Vote counting inside the Bridgeport Registrar of Voters Office on State Street downtown.

9:30 p.m. update: And the slog continues, and probably into Friday morning.

With lawyers for candidates watching, election officials inside the Bridgeport Registrar of Voters office are tabulating the results from the city’s 25 voting precincts to help determine the next governor. This calculation will produce final certified Bridgeport numbers for presentation to the state. The vote count meeting was delayed because some officials were catching up on sleep. Pass the espresso!

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz conducted a press conference this afternoon to announce that the final statewide total to decide Connecticut’s governor-elect was waiting on Bridgeport. Lots of finger-pointing going on from Bysiewicz, the state’s top elections official, to parties from both sides pointing fingers back at her. Don’t expect a final Bridgeport number until Friday. And on it goes …

Why is this taking so long? Beyond the incompetence that led to this ballot mess, the ballot is long and elections officials are validating numbers for 25 precincts for all the candidates Democrat, Republican and other.

There’s a lot of hullabaloo over more than 300 uncounted substitute ballots from the JFK Campus precinct on the East Side. Understaffed election officials assigned to the precinct apparently became so agitated over the Tuesday chaos they walked away, leaving a bag of uncounted ballots. They’ll be counted tonight, or perhaps Friday morning whenever this crew of counters get around to it.

The state has its set of numbers for election night, Associated Press its own goofy math, the Foley campaign has done its own math and the Malloy campaign has done its math. Who’s right? Does anyone know the correct number? Look for a court to sort this out, and if the city’s named as a defendant what will that cost?

Statement from the city:

Statement from Deputy City Attorney Arthur Laske Re: Irresponsible Assertions Regarding Handling of Ballots

“Any allegation that there were missing, or newly discovered ballots by the attorney for the Foley campaign is entirely incorrect. The assertion that there is any impropriety regarding the processing of written ballots from one of the Bridgeport voting precincts by Foley’s counsel is completely irresponsible.

“The ballots referred to were the written ballots from the JFK School polling location. Due to an issue regarding having sufficient personnel available to complete the hand count of photocopied ballots following the late closing of polls on Election Day, the ballots were returned to the office of the Registrar of Voters, secured by election officials, and kept under seal until personnel could be assembled to complete the hand count. (JFK School was one of the 12 polling places that were allowed to stay open until 10 p.m. under a judge’s order.)

“The existence of these ballots, the number of the ballots, and their location and status were fully disclosed to representatives of the Foley and Malloy campaigns during the evening of the election, and the Secretary of the State’s office was also similarly notified, as were all members of the press present at the time the ballot results were released, without the JFK poll results included, at approximately 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

“It is completely irresponsible for counsel for the Foley campaign to mischaracterize this part of the process to the media, and to assert that any impropriety exists with regard to these ballots, which have been secured since they were cast, and their existence has been fully disclosed to the parties and to the public.”



  1. Bridgeport is the hanging chad of America, our mayors are embarrassments, period. Agendas rule this city. How can Malloy win big in a city that supported Lamont?
    The way it could be spun … see, Lamont would have beaten Foley. After all, we kill puppies without consequence here. We have our elected leader embarrass Obama, now this ballot mess. Can’t wait ’til 2011. How can the mayor’s race be a fair fight with the machine involved?

  2. Just what Bridgeport needs, another do-nothing commission study to look at our election process. These 3 gentlemen are gentlemen of high regard and don’t live in Bridgeport. This doesn’t mean we need a study. State regulations are very specific on how elections are to be held down to every poll-worker’s job description. This screw-up was based on sheer incompetency and idiocy.

    Gee! Why didn’t Bill do the same thing after the 2007 primary debacle???

    BTW–I’m still waiting for the report from that much-heralded 42-person transition committee that Bill commissioned in 2007.

    1. Grin Ripper // Nov 4, 2010 at 10:22 am
      Read your posting and I ask …

      BTW, as long as you can continue to eat, breathe and sleep will be how long before the 42-plus transition committee members are able to give their final report.

      That we were able to get even a preliminary report was quite an accomplishment because these transition committee members were serious about reform and wanted to produce!

      It didn’t take long before the entrenched “party-politics Machine” got wind of this eager transition committee crew, and then it didn’t take but a nanosecond for them to figure out that reform could be coming to Bridgeport City government operations … and that would not do.

      And then the Mayor got his marching orders to gradually distance himself from this terrifically dedicated group of people and ultimately betray the trust they extended to him.

      I watched this happen because I was deeply involved with this Transition Committee in 2007. I thought the work we did as Transition Committee volunteer staff, with Rina Bakalar and Jeff Leichtman, was both comprehensive and an excellent beginning.

      We heard directly from the Mayor how he wanted to assemble a bright, savvy group of committed people to become part of his 2007 Transition Team, and then for them to engage in a comprehensive evaluation as to where the Mayor could begin the process to renew, revive, and reform City government. They were to engage without pressure or persuasion to come to any one predetermined answer, but to use their knowledge, skills and experience in evaluating their areas.

      Fast forward. This is the same Mayor who established a new city department, CitiStat, which was to engage without pressure or persuasion, in an evaluation as to where the Mayor could begin the process to renew, revive, and reform City government. Again, the Mayor gradually distanced himself from the CitiStat mission, ultimately diluted the Department of this reform mission, and finally he illegally terminated staff.

      Which gives me pause when it comes to this ballot debacle. Many of us recognize that Dan Malloy represented a kind of reform that did not spell well for the entrenched political machine that has operated City government in Bridgeport for so long.

      Neither Foley nor Lamont have any real idea as to the layers and levels of government process, and both could be manipulated, but Malloy does know his way around, especially city government process.

      You are right, the three-person study committee … no study needed here. Just how many people were involved in suppressing the vote on Tuesday by shorting the ballot count remains to be determined.

      Something else to consider … as you know I am helping John M. Gomes become an elected candidate for Mayor in 2011. John is ready to produce and implement the findings of the Transition Committee. John was asked by the Mayor to be on the Transition Committee in 2007.

      Also, John was asked by the Mayor to become the first Director of CitiStat. CitiStat produced 117 recommendations. As Mayor, John would return CitiStat to its mission and implement the 117 recommendations as the first step on real reform.

      1. There is much more wrong with the election process than the lack of sufficient ballots. I hope the three-person panel asks for feedback from those that tried to register voters, used the absentee ballot system, went to the polls etc. There has been a geographic information system on line for several years now. It digitized more than 32,000 parcels in Bridgeport. You can zoom to the property, see it, spin around and even count mailboxes and driveways. So I ask how does Herbst state that there were 200 absentee ballots for one vacant property on North. Really. Those stupid days of fictitious ballots should have ended when each and every ballot can be checked against the property from a laptop, desktop or mobile phone. The people at the polls were not trained. People waited on line and then were told to go to another polling place only to find out that they needed to return. A clean and trustworthy electoral process for Bridgeport needs a top-to-bottom review. Unfortunately I do not believe the existing ROV’s can win back the confidence of the Bridgeport voters as well as the rest of the state that is waiting for a final count. Bridgeport needs to use the GIS technology that was implemented and get our act together. This isn’t funny anymore. This election process, all of it, needs to become transparent and accurate once and for all. The panel needs to soberly work and their report, all of it, needs to be released to the public. Linda Grace … welcome to your new reality. I wish you could start tomorrow and provide staff support to the new panel. Fresh eyes are needed. This embarrassment has to lead to the absolute best election process in the state. We must accept nothing less.

  3. *** Just how much is it going to cost taxpayers when it’s all said & done to have these 3 men of “high regard” make their so-called study on how to improve BVR office? Are they volunteering their services? Think not! And if the 2 admins are dismissed from the BVR office, who steps in on the Dem side after being elected? Seems like nothing but a big spinning lawsuit, waste of more money & time with just a few overall changes will come of this after it’s all said & done! Just another sign of the times in Bpt with everybody looking for someone to blame out of a cast of many! *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  4. I would hope the study group is volunteering their services and expertise. If not, replace them with esteemed colleagues who will. I repeat, the 2 admins cannot be dismissed. They answer only to the electorate who elected them. They must, and should resign of their own free will. Neither of them should have any access to any of these records without oversight.

  5. Bridgeport is the hanging chad of America!!! I like that! All joking aside, though, maybe this is finally enough to make state and national Democratic leadership take a look at Bridgeport’s DTC and finally see the corruption and incompetence of its leadership. They care not for the success of the party and its candidates but for their own personal agendas because, face it, most of these people are unemployable/electable anywhere else. I hope when the dust finally settles and Malloy is officially declared the winner that he does not forget what happened here and holds Bridgeport accountable.

      1. That’s right, TC–the whole city that year after pathetic year continues to elect incompetent and corrupt people put on the ballot by a DTC that does not give a crap about the people of this city, culminating in this spectacle.

  6. I want to hear it directly from the Republican ROV that he met with Ayala and THEY decided to order 21,000 ballots together. If she ordered the ballots without consulting the Republican then I want a full investigation of her intent. I actually want the Governor vote invalidated statewide and a new election scheduled.

  7. I want to have a sit-down with Mario over a bottle of vino and get him buzzed enough to ask him one question:

    Yo Mario sir, don’t you get damn tired of having to clean up the mess your mayors make? With all due respect sir, it’s got to be getting old.

  8. I don’t know the legal procedures but shouldn’t the Sec of State play a more active role in this debacle? Send in state marshals or police to see that ballots are secure? Does the state legislature need to take a close look at the laws governing elections and make some changes? I just feel that Bysiewicz has shown herself too incompetent to hold elective office in the future.

  9. Why can’t the 2 ROVs appear jointly at a news conference and jointly announce Bridgeport’s certified election results??? Isn’t that what they are paid for??? Instead, the both of them are hiding someplace–only known to God–hoping it will all blow over! Newsflash to you both–It is not going away anytime soon! Get out there in front of the cameras and announce those results–that is what you were elected and what you are paid to do!!!

    1. JustMe // Nov 4, 2010 at 2:41 pm
      Responding to your posting

      Yes it is …

      … but

      There are in Bridgeport today people capable of leading a City administration who have the moral courage, the political integrity, and the inclusion of the concerns of all our citizens (not just the favored few) when policy, practices and money decisions are made.

    1. Now TC, she was just renominated when Mario was Town Chair and renominated 2 years ago when Mario was Town Chair.
      Very disingenuous of you to blame it all on Stafstrom.

    2. town committee // Nov 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      Really TC …
      This reasoning is not like you … that was then and this is now.

      This is an instance when I am asking again … was there anyone outside the Registrar’s Office who helped to arrive at the 21,000 number?

      I think yes.

      1. Carolanne
        If you think that someone besides the 2 registrars of voters is responsible for only 21K ballots don’t keep it a secret. If you think it was Finch I will disagree with that.
        I do think that money or costs played into the number of ballots that were ordered. What was the budget that was set aside for this election? Who sets the budget for the city and its departments?

  10. I’m guessing Mark Anastasi and the City Attorney’s staff are the ones conducting the final tally.
    1) He can’t resist throwing himself into the middle of a mess and TRY cleaning it up
    2) He truly believes whatever he says should be taken as being as accurate as the word of God
    3) He believe he can issue an opinion (never in writing mind you) that cannot be challenged anywhere.

  11. Just heard on channel 8 from one of Foley’s attorneys that an unopened bag of photo-copied ballots was just found at the Registrar’s Office. It was never opened because the election workers refused to count them. The attorney wants the bag taken to a neutral place like the state police barracks but Mark Anastasi refused.

    Now even if there were no intentional fraud (and I don’t think there was), this kind of thing sure makes it look like it. As the City Attorney, Mark should do everything he can to appear fair and transparent. This is just going to spark another lawsuit and more bad press for Bpt.

    1. My question is why did the election workers refuse to count those votes? Why? Bridgeport, you are making Chicago look like Philadelphia. This whole thing is starting to like like an ACORN operation.

    1. Does anyone know if the ROV or SuBy authorized the ballots to be photocopied or did the poll workers take it upon themselves to make the copies? The CT Post said that the Republican poll workers objected to the photocopies. I’m contemplating the legality of it all.

  12. city hall smoker just when I thought you were a smart guy, you believe what you heard on TV, and coming out of the mouth of a lawyer, a Republican one. I betcha he found Jimmy Hoffa at the ROV office too.

  13. Hey will somebody tell Tim Herbst to get back to Trumbull? It’s dark out in Bpt and you all know how bad things happen in Bpt and besides his parents have to change his diaper and put him to night night so he can take his bottle. HEY Trumbull he has been in Bpt the last few days when he should be at work last I recall he works for Trumbull he is not a lawyer for Foley so get back across the border you green back and do what you were elected to do on your side of the border, before police mistake you and those pink cheeks of yours for some Trumbull kid trying to get some reefer, but then again they have better and stronger stuff in Trumbull.

    1. “… HEY Trumbull he has been in Bpt the last few days when he should be at work. Last I recall he works for Trumbull he is not a lawyer for Foley so get back across the border you green back and do what you were elected to do on your side of the border …”

      How about demanding the same of President Obama? Vacationing; playing basketball and golf; fundraising and campaigning all over the country, at a time when leadership is needed the most. I bet you’re still wondering, why the “shellacking?” Voters rule number one (not quite in Bridgeport): You slack, you get shellacked.

      1. How big of a moron can you be??? Your President Bush was on vacation “clearing brush” at his TX ranch a full THIRD of his time in office!!! This while presiding over 2 wars!!! And you want to talk about a shellacking??? Dems may have lost the House, but they maintained control of the Senate nor did they do too badly in sane parts of the country like the Northeast. Maybe you should move to Kentucky, who elected wacko Rand Paul to the Senate. Seems to me from some of your comments that you’d be more at home there.

  14. It’s all over the news bpt guy, a bag of ballots was found from JFK school. Think you owe CHS a my bad? If the feds don’t get them then Malloy will.

  15. So what’s the dealie with the poll workers? Can they just walk away and refuse to finish the job because things are getting “uncomfortable?” Can you actually bring a bag of ballots to McLevy and say “I’ve had it, count them yourself.” Can Santa order them to stay? TC, do you know if the poll workers are tested for literacy, are they trained, do they take an oath of honesty? I’m wondering what kind of people are charged with such a huge responsibility.

  16. Again from a novice

    Someone wants Malloy to lose so they make sure they run out of ballots knowing that photocopies have to be made and can’t go through the voting machine. Then those copies that are uncounted end up in a huge bag and were supposed to be disposed of before the raids begin. WOW. That is way to far-fetched even for Bridgeport, isn’t it?

    1. Another thought: what about the chain of custody? How many people touched those ballots as they were transported from the schools to McLevy Hall? Could the bags have been switched for or against Malloy? You have to ask these questions given Bpt’s questionable history. Mario is capable of anything to win/lose an election. Santa is way over her head.

    2. Unfortunately, your theory is not far-fetched at all for Bridgeport. The Bridgeport Democratic Town Chair did not actually support Dan Malloy. He manipulated the delegation to support Ned Lamont in the primary. The Bridgeport DTC, as a whole, did not GOTV. Had it not been for the big push from national with President Obama’s visit on October 30, the dedication of individual groups of committed Bpt Democrats along with a few discontented, but wise TC members, Mr. Malloy would not have realized those numbers out of Bridgeport. Therefore, may not have won the gubernatorial race. And I don’t believe for a minute that calamity would have been to the chagrin of the DTC Chair.

      The fact that it is the ultimate responsibility of the ROV to order the correct number of ballots does not negate the fact that the head of the DTC, nor the Mayor, did not monitor this election process with a simple follow-up with the ROV to make sure everything was in place for this election, particularly having a sufficient number of ballots and poll workers available at every precinct.

      The Bridgeport DTC “machine” is broken. The supremacy of the glory days have come and gone. For years the only purpose the Bpt DTC has served is to perpetrate a scam that supports a few selfish individuals’ economic and political gain. Wake up, Bridgeport … time to clean house!

  17. JFK is one of the larger precincts in Bpt and I can bet well over 1000 ballots were cast there. Heavy Democratic stronghold. Poll workers in Bridgeport should all be fired and for sure the idiots at Black Rock too, yup that’s right those poll workers are damn idiots!!! I’m tired so you can’t answer a lady’s question on how to put the ballot in the side of the machine? I wasn’t even sure myself and I have no confidence that my vote was counted at all. I will not be voting again until 2012 I’m disgusted at how poll workers at Black Rock conducted themselves. The guy giving the I Voted sticker could see your ballot when you put it in why wasn’t he standing at the door? I urge Bpt voters to stay home until 2012, it’s not worth voting in Bridgeport and sure as hell not worth the trouble when there is a big chance your vote will not be counted. I have no faith in this election system. Malloy won fair and square in Bridgeport and could have won by a even larger margin if hundreds did not go home!!! Bpt stay home until 2012 because that’s what I will be doing. Note Finch scored points with a lot of people on Sat and scored points with me and he should not be blamed with this ballot thing. Funny thing is I have heard residents say Republicans planned this so Democrats could not vote.

  18. Why is everyone saying it’s only the mayor’s race that is in jeopardy? Isn’t every position in jeopardy? What about all the senate, congress, yada yada … the ballot I filled out had all those races on it.

  19. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow just gave an update on Connecticut’s Governor’s race stating it has just got more confusing than yesterday citing delays because the great city of Bridgeport Connecticut, the home of the Bridgeport Bluefish minor league baseball team, Bridgeport has not submitted its vote totals after ballot shortages and other problems. … grrrrrrrrr

  20. *** It’s been about 8 years since I worked the polls, so I wonder if they still have 8 hours of moderator training & 4 hours training for assistant registrar throughout the year? Also meetings with all polling workers a week before the elections to get everyone on the same page. They increased the pay a bit more but regardless of the money, some form of training & backup alternates should be helpful for all elections. Also trying to save the city money on ballots must have played a part in the over-all pre-ballot order, no? Just goes to show that the sec of state’s office & elections enforcement commission don’t really have the overall power, interest nor manpower to be more involved in the overseeing of any of the town’s VRO’s in CT. As a Bpt resident after an exciting visit from the President regarding this election, I’m a bit embarrassed even though I did not vote! *** SOS ***

  21. Hey, folks. Why is everyone acting so surprised? For months now, all you Democrats have been saying, “election victory is in the bag.” Why act surprised at the obvious fraud? Three months ago, former Deputy Republican Registrar of Voters Theresa Pavia alluded to mismanagement at the BROV. Last month, the CT Post did a story about the Nichols Street co-op remodeling project in which the contractor stopped work due to not getting paid. It was reported that the father and son City Councilpersons live there together. One represents (term used lightly) the 137th district and the other represents the 131st district, but both live in the 137th. I guess the mayor didn’t read that article. Living in the North End while representing the East Side in Hartford is just fine. Lots of talk about ballots and we haven’t even mentioned the Absentee Ballots, which I’m sure carried Malloy closer to victory in the cities. Dan Malloy is feeling fabulous about all this, which is why he picked this song as his campaign theme song:





    1. @independent soul, forget selling your house. I had mine on the market for over a year and never even got one offer. Some of my neighbors who were selling their homes didn’t even get any viewings. And we live in St. Mary’s. Just walk away and leave the keys. That’s what I will wind up doing, and never again will I live in a town run by Democrats.


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