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Court imposes stricter controls on absentee ballots for second Bridgeport primary election


A Bridgeport Superior Court approved agreement for a do-over of the city’s Democratic primary for mayor includes stricter controls for the use of absentee ballots.

Gov. Ned Lamont has said he supports the move.

Lamont said the stuffing of absentee ballot drop boxes ahead of the September Democratic primary in Bridgeport between incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim and challenger John Gomes, undermines people’s confidence in elections.

“Video cameras at the ballot drop boxes were really important. They revealed what happened. Unfortunately, it took the courts too long to get the person that did it the last time. We are not going to let that happen again,” he said.

The court is trying to make the absentee ballot stuffing that affected the city’s September primary harder to do, said Patricia Crouse, a political scientist at the University of New Haven.

“The court is obviously very serious about making sure that the second primary kind of goes off without a hitch,” Crouse said.

“I don’t think they overdid it on the requirements. They just want to make sure that they don’t have to go through this again,” she added.

The court requires that there be serial numbers on absentee ballot applications for people who request more than five ballots for family members or caregivers.

The town clerk would be required to stamp every absentee ballot received from drop boxes, and absentee ballot applications would only be made available three weeks before the election.

Absentee ballots had been available months before the September primary.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.