Election fraud cases break out in 3 Democrat-run states, new voting ordered in one

Bridgeport Superior Court Judge William Clark overturned the results of a Democratic mayoral primary and ordered a new election in connection to allegations of absentee ballot abuse.

Published: November 5, 2023 6:31am

Updated: November 6, 2023 1:29pm

A new primary election has been ordered by a Connecticut state court amid alleged fraud, while Democrats in Massachusetts and New Jersey are also accused of or charged with election fraud. This brings the total of election-related criminal cases across the country to at least three.

Democrats in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are facing various allegations of election fraud, as two instances are related to this year's elections while two more are with regard to prior elections.

On Wednesday, Bridgeport Superior Court Judge William Clark overturned the results of a Democratic mayoral primary and ordered a new election in connection to allegations of absentee ballot abuse

The judge made the decision after a video was posted online that appeared to show a supporter of incumbent Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim stuffing stacks of papers into a ballot drop box, according to WNPR Connecticut Public Radio

The general election for mayor was set for Nov. 7. A new primary date has yet to be set, but the judge told lawyers that they had 10 days to work with city and state election officials to determine a potential date for the new election, the Associated Press reported.  

Judge Clark determined the allegations of possible malfeasance were sufficient to toss out the results of the Sept. 12 primary, which incumbent Ganim won by 251 votes out of 8,173 cast. Absentee ballots secured Ganim's margin of victory, WNPR Connecticut Public Radio also reported. Judge Clark said, "the videos are shocking to the court and should be shocking to all the parties.”

Meanwhile, in neighboring Massachusetts, a Democratic mayoral candidate is accused of bribing residents to vote. 

Election officials for the city of Springfield say they witnessed voters being brought to the city hall for early voting and that at least some expected to be given cash after they voted for Democratic candidate Justin Hurst, according to local news outlet The Republican

Video footage has also been released of a man associated with Hurst's campaign allegedly handing cash to voters last weekend.  

City officials claim in sworn affidavits that the distribution of $10 bills, clearly visible in surveillance footage, represents voter fraud, The Republican also reports

Hurst denied all the allegations ahead of Election Day on Tuesday. “Any accusations that my team paid residents in exchange for their vote is unequivocally false,” he said, according to Western Mass News.  

He also addressed the video in which a man appears to be handing out cash to voters.  

“That gentleman has volunteered on many campaigns," Hurst stated. "That particular gentleman has spent more time in prison than he spent out, but he is a good man and he’s the individuals I’m fighting for in the city of Springfield. We’re running an election that is inclusive." 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts told Western Mass News that they could not confirm or deny if an investigation was taking place, but charges have yet been filed. 

Unlike Massachusetts, election fraud investigations that have been confirmed in New Jersey have announced charges against two Democrats. 

State election fraud charges from the 2020 and 2021 elections in two different cities related to mail-in ballots and voter registrations were announced by state Attorney General Matthew Platkin’s office in October. 

According to the attorney general’s office, Paterson City Council President Alex Mendez (D) is facing additional charges in a 2020 election fraud case, after having previously been charged in June 2020 and February 2021.  

Last month, Platkin announced that new charges have been brought against Mendez and his associates regarding mail-in ballot election fraud, which occurred during the 2020 election that was mostly conducted by mail. 

Before the May 2020 election, in which Mendez was running for city council, he allegedly collected many mail-in ballots from households over several days in violation of state law, according to the attorney general’s office. While New Jersey law allows a “bearer” to return a completed ballot for a voter, candidates in elections are not allowed to collect and return ballots for the voters in the district of the race they are running in.  

According to Platkin’s office, Mendez’s campaign allegedly collected ballots that were not sealed by voters and examined them at the campaign headquarters to see if they were cast for Mendez. Ballots that were not cast for Mendez were allegedly destroyed and replaced with a ballot for him. The replacement ballots were allegedly stolen from voters’ mailboxes. 

Mendez responded to the charges following their release, saying, “This is unfair. They rushed to charge me four years ago, and when they knew those charges weren’t working and were going nowhere, they charge me with something else.”  

“I’m looking forward to my day in court,” he added. “I’m fighting this to the end.”

Mendez's legal counsel didn't immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the city council president's plea or trial date.

Another Democratic candidate in New Jersey was also charged with election fraud last month.  

The state attorney general announced that Dr. Henrilynn Ibezim, who was a candidate for Plainfield mayor in 2021, has been charged with "election fraud and other crimes" according to the state AG, who also said in a statement that Ibezim directed his associates to fill out blank voter registration applications and bring nearly 1,000 of them to a post office. 

In the June 2021 primary, Ibezim was defeated by three other candidates. He also previously ran for mayor in 2017.  

Ibezim didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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