State Rep. Christina “Tita” Ayala, of Bridgeport, was arrested Friday after violating state election laws and providing authorities with fabricated evidence that she lived at an address other than her own, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice.
According to the DCJ, Ayala, 31, voted in local and state elections in districts other than her own between 2009 and 2012, including Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee elections, a municipal primary election, a state primary election and the 2012 Bridgeport state general election “in districts inconsistent with location of her residence.”
She’s also accused of presenting the Elections Enforcement Commission with false evidence indicating that she lived at an address that was not her own.
Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill called the news of Ayala's voter fraud arrest "a very troubling development."
“Anyone who holds public office takes an oath to uphold the law," Merrill said. "While everyone is entitled to their day in court, voter fraud is a very serious crime for which we have zero tolerance. The punishment is very severe for anyone who gives false information when registering to vote. This arrest underscores the strength of our system in Connecticut for enforcing our election laws, from the State Elections Enforcement Commission to the Chief State’s Attorney’s office who investigate and prosecute these felonies.”
Ayala has been charged with eight counts of fraudulent voting, 10 counts of primary or enrollment violations and count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission notified the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney of the alleged misconduct in October 2013, the DCJ said.
If convicted, Ayala could receive one-to-two years in prison for each count of fraudulent voting, along with up to five years in prison for each count of enrollment violations and tampering with evidence, according to the DCJ.
She could also be fined $300-500 for each count of voting fraud.
Ayala was released on a promise to appear and is due in court Oct. 7.
She faced domestic violence charges following an argument with her boyfriend in 2013, just weeks before taking office, that were subsequently dropped.
Ayala was also fined $350 in connection with a hit and run incident.