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Secretary Thomas Updates Community on Efforts Being Taken to Secure Bridgeport's New Mayoral Primary

(Hartford, CT) – Today, Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas announced actions her office is taking to secure the January 23, 2024 election in Bridgeport and future elections.

Community Outreach

“Election malfeasance can only be addressed if it is reported and investigated, which requires the help of the public,” said Secretary Thomas. “In the absence of public education funding, we are working through as many outlets as possible to get knowledge into the hands of the people.”

To help educate the public, the Office of the Secretary of the State released videos conducted by Secretary Thomas, former Registrar Peggy Reeves, and President of the Connecticut Town Clerks Association (CTCA) Patty Spruance, explaining all absentee ballot laws in English and Spanish. The videos are available below and online (click here for English and click here for Spanish) and will be posted to the Office’s website and social media. They will also be sent to campaigns and community groups in Bridgeport.

Absentee Ballot Voting Explained (click image to view video):

Absentee Ballot Video - English

Voto en Ausencia, Explicado en Español

Absentee Ballot Video - Spanish

To report suspected election malfeasance, residents should contact the election monitor or report directly to the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) by calling 860-256-2940 or completing and delivering a complaint form linked here.

Securing the Election

Superior Court Judge William Clark’s decision ordering a new primary in Bridgeport detailed guardrails for the January 23 primary election, including:
The use of new ballots and serial numbers specific to that election to prevent any individuals from using previously collected ballot applications.
Each ballot collected from drop boxes will be individually stamped “drop box,” to differentiate between mailed ballots and those returned in-person.
A reminder of the existing law requiring local officials to use specifically assigned serial numbers for absentee ballots in instances where individuals request five (5) or more absentee ballot applications.

The Office of the Secretary of the State will undertake additional measures, including those suggested by the election monitor installed in Bridgeport during the General Election in November 2023, including:

Conducting thorough training on absentee ballot laws and procedures for the newly elected Town Clerk, Charlie Stallworth.
Sharing proper absentee ballot procedures with the Bridgeport police department for when they are serving as a designee for the absentee ballot application pursuant to C.G.S. Sec. 9-140b and Sec. 9-150c.
Accompanying the Town Clerk or designee on all pick-ups from drop boxes during the election period.
• Working with the Absentee Ballot Moderator to ensure familiarity with and strict adherence to following the procedures for receiving, handling, counting, and preserving absentee ballots, as detailed in the Absentee Ballot Manual and as governed by C.G.S. Sec. 9-150a.
Working with the Registrars of Voters to ensure that the Head Moderator has refresher training in advance of Election Night.
Accompanying Registrars of Voters when undertaking supervised absentee ballots.
Reviewing absentee ballot applications for atypical patterns and reporting when warranted.
Modifying drop box pick up procedures on Election Night to ensure all boxes are uniformly locked at 8:00 p.m., in accordance with the law.

Secretary Thomas Announces Election Monitors for New Bridgeport Primary

Peggy Reeves will return for the new Bridgeport Primary Election set to take place on Tuesday, January 23 and will be joined by current Waterbury Registrar of Voters Tim DeCarlo, who will serve as a second election monitor.

“Peggy and Tim each have a deep knowledge of Connecticut elections law and procedures, which is key for this role,” said Secretary Thomas. “Peggy already has a familiarity with the city and its officials from her time spent there during the General Election. Tim has a solid working relationship with town election officials through his work with the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut (ROVAC). By sharing the election monitor role, we are mirroring Connecticut's tradition of party parity while also building in redundancy to provide a constant presence in Bridgeport despite any life emergencies or illness. I’m grateful to both of them for their service to our state and the Bridgeport community.”

Reeves is a retired attorney who spent 14 years as the Democratic Registrar of Voters for the town of Wilton and worked as the Director of Elections for the Office of the Secretary of the State from 2011-2019. She previously was a board member of the National Association of State Election Directors and served as a State Representative for the 143rd District (Wilton, Norwalk), where she was a member of the General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections (GAE) committee.

DeCarlo has served as Waterbury’s Republican Registrar of Voters since 2010, having been re-elected to a fifth term in 2020. DeCarlo also serves on the federal Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) Standards Board and is the Chair of New Haven County and Legislative Committee of ROVAC, where he also leads training for new Registrars of Voters.

“The Election Monitors will be in the Town Clerk’s Office every day during the primary period,” stated Deputy Secretary Jacqueline Kozin. “If voters have questions or concerns about election-related activity, they should contact the monitors there or in the case of suspected illegal activity, file a complaint with SEEC by calling 860-256-2940 or completing and delivering a complaint form linked here.” For information about the process for Bridgeport’s upcoming new Democratic Mayoral Primary, please see the full election calendar here:


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