State Supreme Court Declines to Rule On Bridgeport Primary Case Ahead of General Election

A lawsuit alleged misconduct surround absentee ballots in the Democratic primary

The general election in Bridgeport will go on as planned after the state Supreme Court declined to rule on a case surrounding allegations of misconduct involving absentee ballots during the Democratic mayoral primary in September.

The three voters who took their suit to the state’s highest court claim that at least eight people from Mayor Joe Ganim’s campaign, mostly city employees, went into two senior-living facilities and pressured residents, who may have been ineligible to vote, to fill out absentee ballots.

Ganim won 75 percent of the absentee vote, while he only received 48 percent of the in-person vote during the September Democratic primary.

While a lower court judge agreed that the behavior alleged by the plaintiff was disturbing, he ultimately decided that there was not enough evidence of wrongdoing to change the results of the election. 

Ganim beat state Senator Marilyn Moore by 270 votes.

The justices heard arguments and asked questions for just over an hour today.

They initially indicated that wanted to try to bring this case to a conclusion Monday, because of Tuesday’s general election.

But instead, they took the case under advisement.

The plaintiffs’ attorney asked the justices to set aside the primary results and order a special election.

She says now that’s unlikely, because they would have to vacate the results of two elections.

One of the plaintiffs says while the election results may stand what they can do is not static.

“The best case scenario is that going forward we continue to look and make public the misrepresentations and the intimidation that happens in Bridgeport voting and we bring that to light,” said Plaintiff Vanessa Liles.

“A lot of this is untested and uncharted territory. This is a matter of first impression in many respects so it will be interesting to see what their views are,” her attorney added.

The attorney for the eight defendants named in the suit declined to speak with reporters after court Monday, but said during the hearing that the plaintiffs did not offer up enough evidence to overturn the primary results.

He also argued that the court would set a new precedent if it sided with the plaintiff.

“Every single voter in Bridgeport or any other city for any other election can basically raise their hand and come into court and set this monumental process in motion,” said James Healy, the defense attorney.

Attorneys for both sides are now preparing to be peppered with more questions from the justices, who did not indicate when they’ll make their final ruling.

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