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Secretary Thomas Announces New Referrals to State Elections Enforcement Commission and 2024 Proposed Elections Reforms

(Hartford, CT) – Today, Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas released information regarding new referrals her office made to the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC). The referrals are related to the February 2024 Mayoral General Election redo in Bridgeport and include:

  • Reports from voters who received absentee ballots despite not requesting them;
  • A voter reported an individual arrived at his home to help him with his ballot, had him sign unknown paperwork, and took his ballot;
  • A report of a campaign offering cash in return for completed absentee ballots;
  • Suspicious activity at drop boxes discovered during review of footage from surveillance cameras.

“When alerted, the Secretary of the State’s Office is required to send allegations of election malfeasance to SEEC for their review and decision to investigate if any laws were broken,” said Secretary Thomas. “Referrals are not proof of wrongdoing, but an important step to ensure that our elections are secure.”

Secretary Thomas continued: "Our office is committed to doing what we can to ensure that not just Bridgeport's citizens trust the elections process, but all of Connecticut does. Two bills have been introduced in the General Assembly, which include our proposals to close loopholes observed by our election monitors.”

One of those legislative proposals is a comprehensive election security bill, HB 5498, that includes: requiring the surveillance of absentee ballot drop boxes and retention of the footage; modifications for how absentee ballot data is recorded and reported; limiting who may apply for replacement absentee ballots; and reducing the window of availability of absentee ballot applications.

Recognizing the need for additional local oversight, Secretary Thomas has also recommended the formation of a board (see SB 441) to view and mitigate election administration issues that currently fall within the gap between the jurisdiction of the Office of the Secretary of the State and SEEC. The 17-member board would be granted the authority to mandate training, the implementation of best practices, and monitor an election when necessary.

“My office’s efforts did not end on February 27, the final Election Day in Bridgeport,” said Secretary Thomas. “We continue our advocacy for election security and know that the legislature is equally committed to passing legislation that protects the integrity of Connecticut’s electoral process.”

Secretary Thomas will testify on these bills at the Government Administration and Elections Committee’s public hearing on Monday, March 18.


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