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A modest response in Hartford to the election scandal in Bridgeport

The House voted unanimously Friday to approve limited reforms inspired by the mail-in voting scandal that led to a court-ordered rerun of the 2023 mayoral primary and general election in Bridgeport, Connecticut's largest city.

“This episode was a black eye for the city, the state and for the vast majority of election officials, candidates and campaign workers in this state who follow our laws with the utmost integrity and competence,” said Rep. Matt Blumenthal , D-Stamford, the sponsor of the bill.

House Bill 5498 would, among other things, require publicly available video surveillance of mail-in ballot boxes and faster referral of election complaints involving potential criminality to police and prosecutors.

No measures have been taken to more aggressively address Bridgeport's habitual reliance on “harvesting mail-in ballots,” such as banning the mass distribution of mail-in ballot applications and eliminating the ability of campaigns to identify and track voters who receive them have.

“This bill will not harm our elections and I fully support it,” said Rep. Gale Mastrofrancesco of Wolcott, the ranking Republican on the Election Committee. “But I don’t think this bill goes far enough. This is all about fighting voter fraud after it happens.”

Mastrofrancesco said after the vote that she would have preferred a ban on campaigns distributing absentee ballot applications, even if it would have violated what she considered a legitimate, if limited, effort to participate in the election elsewhere in Connecticut.

Anna Harden

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