Democratic Officials Charged in Mayoral Primary Voter Fraud

( – Election security has been at the forefront of conversations over the last several years. As the general election approaches, officials want to ensure every legal vote counts. In Connecticut, police have arrested four Democrats.

On June 11, Bridgeport police arrested Democratic Town Committee Vice Chair Wanda Geter-Pataky, Bridgeport City Councilmember Alfredo Castillo, and two campaign workers, Nilsa Heredia and Josephine Edmonds. The arrests stem from allegations during the 2019 mayoral primary campaign.

According to authorities, Castillo is accused of committing crimes related to absentee voting during the primary, including not signing on as an “assister” on a ballot application filed for a voter and misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot. Geter-Pataky is also facing allegations that she didn’t sign on as an “assister” on a ballot application. The two officials supported Mayor Joseph Ganim’s reelection.

Geter-Pataky, Heredia, and Edmonds are all accused of witness tampering for allegedly telling voters they distributed and collected absentee ballots from to not tell authorities the truth if they were asked about it.

A 2019 primary voter told investigators the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) that Geter-Pataky gave her an absentee ballot that was already completed. The voter reportedly told authorities that the Democratic committee vice chair told her “not to mention her name if [she] talked to anyone about” the ballot.

This isn’t the first time allegations of wrongdoing have been connected to a Democratic primary. State Judge William Clark overturned the 2023 Bridgeport mayoral primary after allegations were made about voter fraud and video footage reportedly showed Geter-Pataky ballot stuffing. The judge ordered Democrats to hold another primary last year.

Patrick J. Griffin, the chief Connecticut state attorney, issued a statement, saying, “Integrity of our voting process is vital to our democracy.” He commended the Statewide Prosecution Bureau for its investigation into the allegations. He hopes the criminal action taken against the defendants “will send a message that deters tampering with election results” in the state.

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