Some Bridgeport residents say there needs to be systemic change amid a voting controversy in their city.
This comes after an investigation was opened earlier this week into possible absentee ballot irregularities in the recent Democratic primary election for mayor.
“Especially disturbing to me, honestly, are the voter intimidation tactics that were alleged and that in particular is a crime. This is no longer just ‘was somebody on the list?’ or ‘was somebody not on the list?’ this is actual voter intimidation. That’s a serious offense,” said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission is currently investigating if illegal practices impacted the primary election after a local newspaper reported widespread problems.
“We’re going to commit as many resources as we can to a case like this. The agency is limited with the number of people that we have in place, but we will make it a priority in a case like this and do the best we can as quickly as we can,” said State Elections Enforcement Commission Executive Director Michael Brandi.
Mayor Joe Ganim narrowly defeated state Sen. Marilyn Moore after securing the majority of absentee ballots.
Wednesday, two groups who say they’re nonpartisan gathered in West Side Park to announce a lawsuit seeking to overturn the results and have a new vote.
Merrill says only a judge can do that, but first the SEEC will investigate the validity of the allegations.
Locals we heard from want to make sure the process is lawful in their city.
“How do you keep people engaged if they know the system is rigged?” said Bridgeport resident Ellie Angerame, who’s part of a group supporting the lawsuit, “A lot of us even if we do feel passionate about candidate, it doesn’t mean that this isn’t an incredibly important issue that this has to be remediated.
Moore says she is currently campaigning for the write-in portion of the ballot come November.
She says she’ll see how the process plays out, and that she wants to make it clear this isn’t about this election, but it addresses some issues in the system.
NBC Connecticut reached out to Ganim’s campaign but has not yet heard back.
On Face the Facts with NBC Connecticut this Sunday, Mike Hyceck sits down with the SEEC to discuss their investigating process.