Foster Camp Accuses State Rep. Santiago Of Absentee Ballot Fraud

Jason Bartlett, campaign manager for Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster, has filed complaints with the State Elections Enforcement Commission alleging a voter was disenfranchised because the Town Clerk’s Office didn’t have an absentee ballot available for her to vote on the spot and also alleging State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago, a supporter of Mayor Bill Finch, offered assistance to an elector who had voted by absentee ballot. Santiago is the son of former State Rep. Americo Santiago, also a supporter of Finch. (Ezequiel, feel free to contact OIB if you want to refute the Foster camp’s allegations.) Santiago is quoted in the CT Post:

“I was there that day to check to see whether the residents there received their ballots or not,” he said. “I also stressed to them that they shouldn’t allow anyone from any campaign (to) help them fill out their ballots for them. I never touch their ballots–I know better than that. If I were to do something like that, well, that would just be sheer stupidity.”

Why would Santiago even be there asking about absentee ballots?

Bartlett says he has backed up his complaints with affidavits from the voters. (The Town Clerk’s Office, responding to an avalanche of absentee ballot requests, ran out of ballots for a day in one district.) The complaint:

This complaint is in regard to the handling of absentee ballots by Town Clerk’s office of Bridgeport and officials supporting the reelection of Mayor Bill Finch. After being reinstated to the ballot in the Democratic primary, it is of great concern to Ms. Foster’s campaign that there are no further instances of voter disenfranchisement. It has been brought to the attention of the campaign that a number of possible violations have occurred during the process of absentee voting, a particularly vulnerable procedure. We believe the incumbency and members of its supporting cast to be using its power to gain an illegal advantage.


1. On the morning of September 12th, 2011, Mrs. Carmen Diaz went to the Town Clerk’s office in Bridgeport with the intention of voting via absentee ballot, as she knew she would be out of the country on the date of the primary (Sept 27th). Upon arriving at the Town Clerk’s office she filled out an application for a ballot and immediately turned it back in, letting the Town Clerk’s assistant know that she wished to vote in person at that time. The Town Clerk’s assistant checked her voting district and informed her that she had no ballots for that district (137) at that time. She went on to explain that all the ballots they had received had been sent out to those that had already requested them. Mrs. Diaz was instructed to call back later that afternoon or the next day to see if the new shipment had come in, so that she could come back to vote.

2. On September 15th, 2011 Mrs. Elizabeth Hendricks was at home in her apartment on 140 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport. A man knocked on her door and introduced himself as State Representative Ezequiel Santiago. He went on to say that he had done a lot of work for seniors as a Representative in Hartford. He then asked Mrs. Hendricks if she was going to be voting via absentee ballot. She told him she was, but had already returned her ballot. He responded by saying he would have taken the ballot for her to be turned in.


1. Under allegation 1 the Town Clerk’s office failed to act pursuant to Connecticut General Statute Sec. 9-140 subsection (g) which reads in part, “When the clerk receives an application during the time period in which absentee voting sets are to be issued he shall mail an absentee voting set to the applicant, within twenty-four hours, unless the applicant submits his application in person at the office of the clerk and asks to be given his absentee voting set immediately, in which case the clerk shall comply with the request.”

2. By failing to supply a ballot to a voter with a lawful reason to vote via absentee ballot within the proper time period of absentee balloting pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 9-140, the Town Clerk’s office disenfranchised Mrs. Diaz.

3. With regard to allegation 2, Representative Santiago was demonstrating disregard for Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 9-140b subsections (d) and (e), which read:

(d) No person shall have in his possession any official absentee ballot or ballot envelope for use at any primary, election or referendum except the applicant to whom it was issued, the Secretary of the State or his or her authorized agents, any official printer of absentee ballot forms and his designated carriers, the United States Postal Service, any other carrier, courier or messenger service recognized and approved by the Secretary of the State, any person authorized by a municipal clerk to receive and process official absentee ballot forms on behalf of the municipal clerk, any authorized primary, election or referendum official or any other person authorized by any provision of the general statutes to possess a ballot or ballot envelope.

(e) No (1) candidate or (2) agent of a candidate, political party or committee, as defined in section 9-601, shall knowingly be present when an absentee ballot applicant executes an absentee ballot, except (A) when the candidate or agent is (i) a member of the immediate family of the applicant or (ii) authorized by law to be present or (B) when the absentee ballot is executed in the office of the municipal clerk and the municipal clerk or an employee of the municipal clerk is a candidate or agent.

Such a failure on the part of the Town Clerk’s office and disregard of State law by Representative Santiago certainly warrant further scrutiny from the Election Enforcement Commission. In the brief period that absentee ballots have been available, already these two cases have been brought to the attention of the campaign. I believe this shows a pattern of neglect with regard to rule of law by the powers that be in Bridgeport.

Attached are the affidavits of the witnesses to aforementioned violations for your review. I respectfully submit this complaint to the State Election Enforcement Commission for further investigation and action.



  1. Folks, this is very serious and will require more than Hail Marys. I think the investigators better get over there and over there in a hurry. Apparently, the town clerk has joined the efforts of the ROV and is now in on this conspiracy–this is really bad business.

  2. The Foster campaign is about more than strong leadership. It’s also about ridding the city of this corrupt political machine. The people of the city of Bridgeport have been hoorawed for too long, way too long. Time for this to come to an end.

  3. “I never touch their ballots–I know better than that. If I were to do something like that, well, that would just be sheer stupidity.” EZ Santiago.

    Well no one ever accused Santiago of being too smart for his own good!!!

  4. And talk about not being too smart …

    She [Town Clerk Alma Maya] said the printing of absentee ballots is more complex than it seems at first blush. There are 23 voting districts in the city (some of which share polling places), meaning there are 23 different ballots that must be printed.

    There are 10 City Council districts (the only office that is not consistent on the ballot) so there are at most 10 different ballots. Since half of the city does not have City Council primaries, there are more like six different ballots.

    Is this gross incompetency or cheating by the elected officials? That is the only choice.

    1. Grin, Connecticut’s system really does require a different absentee ballot for each voting district. That, or the ballots need to be brought out to the districts to be counted. The district-by-district counts have to be preserved, and having unique programming for each district is the only way to make that happen.

    2. Incompetence or corruption, the only explanations. I’m not buying into Alma Maya’s explanation. Last November’s ballot shortage clusterfuck should’ve been a learning experience. Mary-Jane Foster is having a galvanizing effect on voters. The turnout is going to be much higher than it has been for past Democratic primaries.

    Did Santa give Alma a lesson in how not to print enough ballots?
    Enough is enough.
    Forget Judge Bellis; forget the SOTS Office; forget SEEC; forget Citizens for Good Government; call in the National Guard to observe this election.
    God save the great city of Bridgeport from itself.

  6. Notice the MJF complaint against Ezequiel Santiago names one incident:
    “… also alleging State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago, a supporter of Mayor Bill Finch, offered assistance to an elector who had voted by absentee ballot.”

    In Ezequiel’s response, he makes inferences to more than one incident:
    “… to check to see whether the residents there received their ballots …” Plural form.
    “…help them fill out their ballots for them…” Plural form.
    “I never touch their ballots …” Plural form.

    “If I were to do something like that, well, that would just be sheer stupidity.”
    This is from a lawmaker? It’s not just “sheer stupidity,” it’s a violation of Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 9-140b subsections (d) and (e). Mitch Robles should have schooled Ezequiel by reminding him to say to the folks he contacted: “You can’t say I did this for you.” These words are the words recorded in November 2009 when Mitch Robles assisted my niece with her AB, by assisting her to mark the ballot; taking it on his hands; placing the ballot in the envelop; licking them (yuck); giving her one dollar to buy the postage stamp; instructing her several times not to tell anyone he did the ballot for her.
    It’s on tape!
    Who wants to bet Ezequiel Santiago will deny making such a statement to the CT Post?

    1. donj if you made a mistake with the ballot it may not be counted. You have to sign the envelope you put inside the other envelope. You have to fill in the oval or circles fully. Make sure you didn’t lie–like Finch–when you stated you will be out of town during all hours of the primary, 6am to 8pm. 50% of the 137th district will be sick that day. I’m sick of Finch, you think they’ll let me vote by AB?

  7. We as Americans have every right to hold elected officials to a higher moral standard. It’s obvious Alma Maya, Santa Ayala, Ezequiel Santiago, Bill Finch and others believe an endorsement from the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee places them above the law. It’s time to send these creeps to the ranks of the unemployed.

    Vote the Foster line on September 27th.

  8. “Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
    “Rip down all hate,” I screamed
    Lies that life is black and white
    Spoke from my skull I dreamed
    Romantic facts of musketeers
    Foundationed deep, somehow
    Ah, but I was so much older then
    I’m younger than that now …”

  9. Now think about this boys and girls …
    Alma is responsible for recording the applications.
    She is responsible for mailing out the ballots.
    She is responsible for receiving the ballots back.
    Let’s say there were 100 applications in this district. Does she only print 100?
    Her explanation is complete BS.
    This is just another effort by the city of Bridgeport to deny its citizens the right to vote.
    When someone shows up in person, the machine has no way of controlling that vote. They cannot send EZ in to check to see how they voted and destroy the ballot if it is not their way.
    Again complete incompetency or deny the public the right to vote. No other explanation.

  10. I’m not feeling particularly perspicacious at the moment. You see, I don’t understand why the FBI has not stepped up and investigated Santa Ayala and Lydia Martinez.

    I am naive; so it seems. I value the election process which I believe to be the fundamental basis for our democracy and our free choice way of life. I resent these cheap-shoe (in this case open-toed cheap shoe) politicians who spit in my eye as they say screw you. You are nothing. You’re not important. How dare you attempt to dislodge a political machine that has been in business for 40 or so years driving this town into the mire at the expense of the taxpayers?

    I wonder if the stakes are so great these miserable bastards are willing to jeopardize their liberty for the sake of maintaining their place at the public teat.

    Can they win? Yes. Can we beat them? Yes.


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