Stallworth: Lawsuit Challenging Primary Unscrupulous And Manipulative Attempt To Undermine Voting

Charlie Stallworth
Charlie Stallworth

State Rep. Charlie Stallworth, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Bridgeport, writes in this commentary that the lawsuit challenging the results of the September 10 Democratic primary is “nothing more than a sheer attempt to employ intimidation tactics to sway the results of the election in their candidate’s favor. At best, their motive is surreptitious and malicious, and is designed to cast doubt on the democratic process, in an unscrupulous and manipulative attempt to severely undermine the credibility of our system of laws around voting, in what we believe to be a last-minute coercive maneuver to force our judicial system to give their preferred candidate a competitive edge.”

The lawsuit, currently playing out in the courtroom of Judge Barry Stevens, was assisted by Bridgeport Generation Now Votes whose leadership supports State Senator Marilyn Moore for mayor. Stallworth, who was briefly in the mayoral field this cycle, supported Joe Ganim for mayor four years ago but did not publicly endorse a candidate during the primary.

From Stallworth:

“Voting is the foundation stone for political action.”–Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am a Senior Pastor of a local congregation, President of a local ministerial group, State Representative and citizen who is concerned that much of the dialogue and to some degree demagoguery about the recent mayoral election has now become an issue of voting rights, but more particularly, the right to vote vis-à-vis absentee ballots. The right to vote is a fundamental constitutional privilege codified in both state and federal law. My father, Mr. Bill Mack Stallworth, and so many from our southern community in Alabama and across the nation fought sacrificially to ensure the right to vote for everyone

The United States Congress has the authority and fiduciary responsibility as prescribed in the 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, and 24th amendments to the United States Constitution coupled with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the American Disabilities Act, to vigorously protect and defend this most essential right for all Americans–and state the fundamental bedrock of our democracy.

I believe that this most basic freedom is being hijacked and threatened by a small contingency of disgruntled voters, who arguably, have failed to allege any specific, concrete harm to themselves and lack standing to bring a sufficient claim of voter disenfranchisement on behalf of the majority of the electorate of the City of Bridgeport. On September 10th, the citizens of Bridgeport exercised their right to vote both at the ballot box and through alternative legal mechanisms (via absentee ballots) and made a clear and conscious choice to vote for the endorsed Democratic candidate. Whether one likes the results or not, the reality is that we cannot engage in Trump-like gaslighting when the results don’t go our way.

Therefore, this legal challenge is nothing more than a sheer attempt to employ intimidation tactics to sway the results of the election in their candidate’s favor. At best, their motive is surreptitious and malicious, and is designed to cast doubt on the democratic process, in an unscrupulous and manipulative attempt to severely undermine the credibility of our system of laws around voting, in what we believe to be a last-minute coercive maneuver to force our judicial system to give their preferred candidate a competitive edge. We must end this behavior in Bridgeport–it’s time to move Bridgeport forward!

As in any election, there is a winner and a loser. Defeat must not be met with disparagement or bitterness, but rather with a spirit of reconciliation and hope that bring people together rather than tear them apart.

I stand in strong opposition to the proposed measures that would call for the over-policing and the imposition of excessive mandates and restrictions on voting for our most vulnerable citizens, including but not limited to communities of color, members of our armed forces, college students, persons with disabilities, religious observants, and other marginalized groups. To date, with the pending litigation looming in the background, it has already started to have a chilling effect on the participation of our electorate, which has the potential to negatively impact the election outcomes in our communities for years to come. All of us must closely monitor this instant case and not allow a legal precedent that undermines our democratic values and disenfranchise our most vulnerable citizens.

I ask that you join us in the fight to protect and preserve the voting rights of the citizens of Bridgeport and to secure the legacy of those who gave up their lives so that we might enjoy such privilege.

In the Battle to Win,

Reverend Dr. C. L. Stallworth

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45 comments

      1. Stallworth was given a city job after Ganim bought the election in 2015. They had a falling out over something and Stallworth quit. Judging the text of his statement he and Little Joe kissed and made up.

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          1. Junior, you are $15 (and a little brainpower) away from owning your own Bridgeport-themed website. Then we could be peers/equals and your desperation would decline, diminish and disappear.

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  1. This court challenge was started on behalf of the elected official who gave
    Connecticut an $80B black eye that won’t go away quickly. Debt lingers. Her short term actions impart a 20-year burden. I disapprove of what she’s done in Hartford (CT) and don’t want those same solutions replicated here.

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    1. Local eyes, you do not like Senator Moore from previous comments, but your reasoning in this multi-person election is just wrong. You are telling us that Senator Moore is solely responsible for an $80 Billion deficit shared by the entire State? Or are you saying that she voted in same, similar, or opposite to the other members of the delegation, which may mean, if same or similar, that she voted on the budget in the way most favored by current City Hall. Right?
      Now to your concern about debt, that bothers me too. Were you aware that Ganim2 increased the City debt by $121 Million in the FY 2018 according to the 2018 CAFR? And did you ever stop to consider the $900 Million or more of repayment obligations for Pension Plan A that Ganim established during his early term in 2000? And have you been aware that this debt was locked in at a high level not subject to refunding or restructuring maneuvers each year that Ganim2 has used to kick obligations down the road? And finally were you aware that the movement of Pension B obligations to MERS created at least $200 million of additional debt for the inclusion of overtime? Or that actuaries in recent years have forced Finch and then Ganim2 to place additions into the Plan A funding to avoid the disappearance of all Plan A asset? There is more, but try acknowledging some critical comments for the incumbent? Time will tell.

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      1. JML, to borrow a phrase, this isn’t my first rodeo.
        Her fingerprints are all over CT’s debt. No, she’s not solely responsible but yes, she’s an abuser in the first degree. I’m the self-styled avenger of debt-fueled growth, sometimes called fake growth.

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        1. LE,
          This is not Ganim’s first rodeo either. And this past year he duplicated his 2000 attempt to be smarter than the financial markets and cost the City more in additional Pension Contributions and debt. Did you miss that, O mighty avenger? Debt fueled payments for obligations? Not growth? Fake everything except finding that when you attempt to eliminate “pay as you go” retirement plan obligations by taking on risks, never frankly shared with the voter taxpayers. And so Ganim2 did it again. And what did you report……..silence from across the border? What say you now, bronco buster? I hope this did not throw you off your hard charger into a lump of something in the ring? Time will tell.

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          1. JML, part of being a rodeo rider is knowing the clean territory. There’s plenty of dirt to go around. Time has spoken!
            I want Bridgeport O.U.T. of the pension business. The reason Bridgeport hasn’t turned to a 401 )K) system is simple: quarterly payments (pay as you go) are required for each employee. That’s FINRA, baby.

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  2. Rev. Stallworth, with all do respect I think your vexation is misplaced as it should be addressed to the individuals that attempted to steal an election by abusing the AB system. At no point does this lawsuit attempt to steal the rights of people to vote, instead it says that the process of AB voting is being manipulated by unscrupulous individuals on behalf of the DTC.

    This behavior of abusing the AB system is no different than voter disenfranchisement that was/is being done through intimidation, or by placing unreasonable requirements on voters for registration or voting. I’m having a problem seeing you advocate for a system that has proven time and time again that is being used to circumvent the will of the people as opposed to advocating that this glaring miscarriage of justice is fixed.

    My hope is the your righteous indignation isn’t fueled by the success of Maria and her newfound ability to use the AB system in a district that you depend upon as a State Rep, should she decide to run for your office. I say this because Maria will probally never be endorsed by the DTC so the DTC AB pirates will at some point help you get elected should you receive their endorsement!

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    1. Don,
      What righteous indignation are you talking about? Please tell me. This letter is balanced. Just like you see an issue with the AB issue, there are people on the other side who does not see the issue that you are talking about! Clearly Moore’s campaign had republicans voting for her that she signed off on. Isn’t this an issue? perhaps, Joe did to, so why is he being beat up on and not her? Tell me what system is perfect. But every time we have an election people shouldn’t be able to clog our court system with their mess because their candidate lost. Our judges have more important things to focus on. Ok? I don’t care if she lost by one vote she lost let us move on. I am getting tired of this mess. We are wasting tax payers money! Had Moore secured the line we would not be here. Had she done what she was supposed to, she would be on the ballot. And you won’t her to run our City with that sloppy operation she ran? Tell me, please.

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  3. Reverend and Representative Stallworth,
    You know that I am neither a member of your faith community nor a voter in your district. But as a conscientious “fiscal watchdog” of more than a decade duration and also a student of American history with all the chapters missed in my High School and College years dealing with the story of people enslaved, mistreated and bought and sold, the real and enduring wealth of many Southern farms and plantations.
    I have been at your congregation for January 1 celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation as well as your own political announcement. I listened to what you said that day and you may remember that I quietly shared with you that one of the three promises you made, for a time when you became Mayor, was unnecessary because though most folks do not realize it, read it, or search for it, an audit is an annual event. A plain old audit that meets the requirement of the State Legislature and has Appendices for Federal and State revenues that accompany it.

    At that time I offered to meet with you and share the basics of City finances with you as you might wish. You never called me after our first meeting. I have been patient as an observer and commentator on the Mayoral campaigns. I have been surprised at how underwhelming are comments about City finances. Do you find that strange, too?

    Right now, the public knows more about Absentee Ballots then about City budgets and I say that is too the good. Basic Civics. But City Finances covered in arrears by the CAFR annually should be equally well known. It is on the City website under the Finance Department links.

    When ABs are used by those who are ineligible to use them, but who can be manipulated by a MACHINE, it is not voter suppression, well known in Georgia and North Carolina currently. But it is a form of voter oppression, done in the dark where who knows what drama is creating that AB vote, I suggest. Might you encourage better results by asking your community to become more knowledgeable about how their money is spent, or mis-spent and increase the number of informed voters. Please provide a light to those who know less than you do. Please increase City voting percentages to 50% or more as a start? Time will tell.

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  4. This is well written. Very powerful words, Dr. Stallworth. I agree totally. This is about protecting the rights of people to vote. People should be able to vote for who they want. Nobody is off the hook here. There are concerns from both sides. All I know is– people should be able to vote AB. Stop trying to blame one particular candidate. Yes, people have the right to protest, but people do not have a right to bully people and trick them into court and make them testify because a few people are mad. Nobody was forced to vote.They admitted in court that they voted for who they wanted to, including one woman saying she voted for Moore. Moore and her people need to stop. people are not that excited about her either. Say what you want, we need to move on. You win some and you lose some; you heal and you move on! This is so crazy to me. The few times that I met Dr. Stallworth he’s been an honorable man. Whether you agree with him or not, show some respect for our leaders.

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    1. The lawsuit is about protecting the integrity of the electoral system in Bridgeport, Ms. Thompson. I’ve lived her for nearly twenty years. There has not been one single election that was not decided by absentee ballots. After a few years it became obvious there was some sort of manipulation going on. Suspicions were confirmed when DTC operatives such as Lydia Martinez were fined for unlawful activities re absentee ballots.

      Reverend Stallworth’s intentions, however well intentioned, are misdirected.

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    1. BRIDGEPORT — Irregularities in the city’s vote counting became the focus of the court challenge to Mayor Joe Ganim’s primary victory on Thursday, when Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens took testimony on the more than 150 absentee ballots that were erroneously marked as received nearly two weeks after the polls closed.

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        1. Jim, for what reason should the judge do that? Did you not read where Moore also screwed up big time? Why aren’t you advocating for a special election, that way, you and Ron can run. Ron as Mayor and create a deputy mayor position for yourself.

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  5. Rev.Stallworth, you seem to real miss the main point of the lawsuit concerning absentee ballots and real history of this problem in Bridgeport but instead of you understanding the history you want to blame those who are using their legal right to petition the court. Rev. Stallworth, read a little of what the current Bridgeport City Clerk has done and your voice has been silent on Lydia Martinez disgraceful action who is running on Mayor Ganim’s slate and supported my Mario Testa and the Democratic Town Committee including you. Rev. Strallworth tells us all your position on Lydia Martinez and on the cases that I’ve listed who were/are elected members of this City’s government, this where your outrage should be.

    City Councilwoman Lydia Martinez admitted to illegally assisting in the filling out of absentee ballots, as well as encouraging those not eligible to vote absentee to do so. Martinez targeted residents of an assisted living home, Harborview Towers. She was ordered by the Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission to pay a $500 fine. This was not the first time she was fined by the Commission: In 2008, she was found liable to pay $664 to the Citizens Election Fund for the excess expenditures her campaign committee made for her failed run for the State House.

    Sybil Allen, while serving as a Democrat on the Bridgeport Town Committee, engaged in a range of absentee ballot-related fraud. Allen completed ballot applications in the name of residents, forged signatures, and on at least one occasion got a voter to forge a ballot registration form for a family member who no longer lived in the community. Allen also told one voter that a candidate was not on the ballot and watched voters fill out their ballots before taking possession of them. Allen eventually agreed to pay a civil fine of $5,000 and was barred from running for re-election for two years.

    Warren Blunt, a city councilman in Bridgeport, pleaded guilty to being present while people cast their absentee ballots and subsequently taking those ballots while running for re-election in the town’s Democratic primary. The State of Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission fined Blunt $2,500 and required him to resign from the town committee. He was also barred from running for elected office again for two years.

    As part of a “get out the vote” campaign leading up to the 2000 election, Ronald Caveness admitted to distributing absentee ballots, being present while people filled them out, and then collecting them. After an investigation by the Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission, he agreed to resign from the Democratic Town Committee, not seeking re-election for two years, and pay a fine of $4,000, which was eventually reduced to $1,000.

    Paulette Park, while working for a candidate for Bridgeport’s 2000 Democratic Town Committee primary election, illegally persuaded voters to list false reasons for requesting absentee ballots, assisted them in applying for absentee ballots, and took possession of the absentee ballots after watching voters fill them out. The State of Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission fined her $5,000 and banned her from working on future campaigns.

    Jacqueline Rogers was a campaign worker for James Holloway, a candidate for City Council. In the 1993 primary, she was paid $150 to dress up in a nurse’s uniform with a certified nurse nametag and solicit “emergency” absentee ballots from patients. She instructed at least one voter to cast her ballot for Holloway. The primary was ultimately decided in Holloway’s favor by just nine votes. The Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission barred her from participating in political campaigns for five years.

    Curtis Mouning, a campaign volunteer for State Representative Mario Testa during the 1990 election, admitted to signing the names of five of his friends and family members to request absentee ballots to vote in the primary. He was ordered to pay a civil penalty to the Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission in the amount of $500.

    Former state representative Christina Ayala pleaded guilty to two counts of providing a false statement and was sentenced to a suspended one-year prison term followed by two years of conditional discharge. Ayala had voted in a series of elections, including the 2012 presidential election, in districts in which she did not live. When confronted about residency discrepancies by state investigators, Ayala fabricated evidence to corroborate her false residency claims. Before agreeing to a plea deal, she faced eight counts of fraudulent voting, 10 counts of primary or enrollment violations, and one count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. As a condition of her plea deal, she is barred from seeking elected office for two years.

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    1. Ron, thank you for the unsolicited history lesson on all things Bridgeport. Let’s hope nobody airs your dirty laundry. Are you suggesting that Moore did everything correctly? All of her AB’s are legit? Were you there? Did you canvass for her? Did you collect AB’s? Why don’t we elect you to be the AB watchdog?

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      1. Stephanie Thompson, what’s all of this hate about? I’m sure that you are not aware of the past history of voting in Bridgeport because if you did you would tell us. I’ve said a number of times that there were missteps in Marilyn Moore’s campaign but Stephanie, why are you asking me all of these questions when you should ask State Rep. Charlie Stallworth, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Bridgeport and by the way did Rev. Stallworth the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Bridgeport sit down with State Senator Marilyn Moore and ask her about her vision for Bridgeport and do the same with Mayor Ganim? Stephanie Thompson, what was your role in the Ganim campaign and in State Rep. Charlie Stallworth campaign?

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        1. Ron, don’t you insult me. I know about Bridgeport politics. Born and raised here. Have children here and siblings. You are one egotistical person. You think you know everything, which clearly it shows that you don’t. You are negative about everything. I don’t owe you or anyone else an explanation and that is real. I am asking you the questions since you know act like you know everything. Makes sense? I have no dog in the fight but until we can put forward a viable candidate ( I suggest Ron Mackey for Mayor) then we should stick with what we have. Thank you. Let us have our coffee date Ron. Coffee will be on me. That way you don’t have any excuses.

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          1. Stephanie Thompson, my first comment this topic had nothing to do with you, I didn’t your name at all, my concerns were address to Rev. Stallworth, it was you who insulted me because you didn’t like what I asked Rev. Stallworth. If you have information about voting issues in Bridgeport you should share it with everyone but don’t hate on me because I research some information about voting.

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          2. Derek, that will never happen. Why would a judge order a new primary and putt off the peaceful passing of the election due process for a name-calling sore loser group? There isn’t any evidence that has been shown the judge to re-order a primary and disrupt this process.

            However, there has been ample evidence for the SEEC to investigate Moore and prosecute, and drop this organization out of the limelight for their misguided however well meaning legal case.

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  6. Mackey, why are you addressing Casper? She/he/it isn’t looking for answers they just want something to say in this forum. The fact that they say they don’t have a dog in this fight shows you that they don’t have a clue about Bridgeport politics because every voter, every resident of Bridgeport has a stake in this when people are using the AB system to manipulate an election thus manipulating the will of the people.

    Have you talked to anyone that knows her/him/it, don’t answer that’s rhetorical, as I haven’t either. Rev. Stallworth has been a recipient of this AB abuse system everytime he is endorsed by the mafia like DTC! What Rev. Stallworth doesn’t say with his soliloquy is that he has benefited from the system of abuse numerous times. Like the Rev I too will quote MLK.
    “Every minority and every people has its share of opportunists, profiteers, freeloaders and excapists.

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    1. Ron, Don, Wanda, Jim and a few other fair minded folks, can you remember a campaign where City finances are not mentioned in detail. (Perhaps Jeff Kohut should get recognition for “floating” the sewage article by us today? No candidate has been down to see the worst photo opportunity in the City that is not a restricted area.)

      What about the money issues folks? Money for teachers and students in classrooms- perhaps folks need to look at $21 Million annual busing expenses for a small city. Wasn’t busing for segregation alleviation? Don’t we have neighborhood schools? Does that work out to $1,000 per youth (including those who walk) in the City? Is the average raised for the much smaller number of Special Education students? Where is the justice? Who is pursuing it fair, equal and just policy and practices in the City? Time will tell.

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  7. Lennie’s post is about Stallworth’s expression self-righteous indignation.
    Donald Day’s response addressed it well.
    The issue is abuse of the absentee ballot system.
    The Bridgeport Democrat party has a long history of abuse of the absentee ballot system that was evident in the recent primary election.
    Both the DTC candidate Ganim and the challenger Moore campaigns apparently abused the absentee ballot system.

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  8. Rev. Stallworth, I see that you are still supporting Joe Ganim even after he gave you his ass to kiss and that you can’t support a black woman for mayor, sad.

    “Ganim schedules rally at ex-opponent’s church”
    Brian Lockhart Oct. 4, 2019 Updated: Oct. 4, 2019 11 p.m.

    BRIDGEPORT — A rally for Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim’s reelection was scheduled Sunday evening at the East End Baptist Church — despite its senior pastor’s previous strong opposition to the incumbent.

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  9. If you wondered or asked yourself why Rev Stallworth would write this garbage, here’s your answer. Damn shame that white folks are still buying Black’s, nothing changed but the century!

    BRIDGEPORT — A rally for Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim’s reelection was scheduled Sunday evening at the East End Baptist Church — despite its senior pastor’s previous strong opposition to the incumbent.

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  10. What happened Rev Stallworth after you said this about Mayor Ganim? A new JOB? A promised ENDORSEMENT? A GRANT for your Church? You are showing Sambo qualities Rev!

    BRIDGEPORT — A rally for Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim’s reelection was scheduled Sunday evening at the East End Baptist Church — despite its senior pastor’s previous strong opposition to the incumbent.
    Earlier this year during his own short-lived run for mayor, the Rev. Charlie Stallworth — who would have been Bridgeport’s first black chief elected official — did not mince words when voicing his disappointment with former ally and fellow Democrat Ganim.
    “Joe is not a good person,” Stallworth told Hearst Connecticut Media. “He’s self-centered and only focused on him and his cronies.”

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