Four were arrested in Connecticut on voter fraud charges

Republican lawmakers are stepping up their calls for new legislation after four Democrats were arrested Tuesday in connection with the Bridgeport primary election controversy.

Wanda Geter-Pataky, vice president of the city’s Democratic Town Committee, and City Council member Alfredo Castillo were among those arrested Tuesday in a case brought by the state attorney’s office over the misuse of absentee ballots. The case stemmed from the 2019 Democratic mayoral primary, which came four years before a Supreme Court justice ordered a new 2023 primary election after videos showed mail-in ballots being tampered with.

Officials said two other Bridgeport campaign workers – Nilsa Heredia, 61, and Josephine Edmonds, 62 – face election-related charges. The three defendants also face witness tampering charges, according to the chief state attorney’s office.

“The integrity of our voting process is critical to our democracy,” said Chief State Attorney Patrick J. Griffin. “I hope these allegations send a message that will deter future election tampering in Connecticut.”

On Capitol Hill, Republicans have repeatedly called for new laws related to mail-in ballot fraud, but those recommendations have been rejected by Democrats who control both the state House of Representatives and the Senate.

Senate Republican Leader Stephen Harding and Sen. Rob Sampson, who has been outspoken on the issue for years, called for new legislation on Tuesday after four arrests related to the 2019 Democratic primary.

“Five years. That’s how long it took to make these arrests,” the Republican senators said. “Do Democrats now want to pass real election reforms in Connecticut? Because let’s face it: They’ve seen the 2023 movies. Everyone has. Repeated, brazen and brazen stuffing ballot boxes in Bridgeport, all caught on tape. In the predawn hours. In many locations throughout the city. They made national news. Supreme Court Justice William Clark wrote that the videos “are shocking to the court.” be shocking to all sides.” The videos were definitely shocking: to Connecticut Republicans. We now had strong visual evidence of fraud: fraud that had been documented in Connecticut municipalities such as Stamford, West Haven and elsewhere.”

Bridgeport city employee Wanda Geter-Pataky was arrested Tuesday in connection with a 2019 election case. Here, he works with his attorney, John R. Gulash, right, to know what questions to answer so as not to incriminate himself during his testimony regarding Bridgeport Democratic Party mayoral candidate John Gomes’ absentee ballot complaint in Bridgeport Superior Court in October 2023. Geter-Pataky was shown video clips of herself inserting absentee ballots into ballot drop boxes. On the left is Judge William Clark. (AP photo from the pool)

Christopher Keating can be reached at [email protected]