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Hearing in Bridgeport ballot box abuse case starts Thursday

Bridgeport mayoral candidate John Gomes addresses supporters and the press after announcing that he’ll challenge the results of the city’s Democratic primary in which he lost to incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim. A video has circulated online of a woman placing multiple stacks of papers in a ballot box outside Bridgeport’s government center.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Bridgeport mayoral candidate John Gomes addresses supporters and the press after announcing that he’ll challenge the results of the city’s Democratic primary in which he lost to incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim. A video has circulated online of a woman placing multiple stacks of papers in a ballot box outside Bridgeport’s government center. (Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public)

A hearing over allegations of electoral misconduct during Bridgeport’s mayoral primary is set to begin Thursday.

Who actually won September’s primary? That’s what’s at stake in this legal challenge. Mayoral candidate John Gomes is accusing current Democratic mayor Joe Ganim’s re-election campaign of absentee ballot fraud.

Gamim won the primary by just 251 votes. About 2,600 absentee ballots were counted.

Gomes says he wants to have the Sept. 12 primary redone, or be declared the winner due to alleged ballot box abuse.

Evidence is expected to be reviewed after Bridgeport police unsuccessfully tried to prevent its use in the hearing, citing its own investigation.

Gomes’ case stems from a video showing a woman reportedly tied to the Ganim campaign stuffing what appears to be stacks of paper in a ballot box.

But a recent city clerk filing claims Gomes' campaign also cheated. A recent video shows a person believed to be a Gomes campaign worker stuffing paper into a ballot box. The Gomes campaign told Hearst Connecticut Media Group that the people involved planned to provide affidavits regarding the ballots they were placing in the box.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission is also investigating separately, and has since subpoenaed the city for its absentee ballots.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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