As a result of video surveillance showing individuals throwing duplicate absentee ballots into outside collection boxes, a judge in Connecticut has thrown out the results of the Democratic mayoral primary contest in the state's largest city and mandated a new election.
Judge William Clark's decision on Wednesday, just six days before the general election, has created an unusual situation, as Fox News reported.
The judge's ruling created a schedule in which voters will decide the outcome of the mayoral election in Bridgeport on Nov. 7 and then be asked to return to the polls at a later, unspecified date to choose the rightful Democratic nominee in the same race.
Clark stated in his decision that he did not have the power to delay or cancel the general election.
The Race for Mayor
Although incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim narrowly defeated opponent John Gomes in the Democratic primary election held on Sept. 12, he said he had seen enough evidence of fraud to request a new election.
"The volume of ballots so mishandled is such that it calls the result of the primary election into serious doubt and leaves the court unable to determine the legitimate result of the primary," Clark stated in his ruling.
Clark highlighted figures suggesting that abnormally large numbers of absentee ballots were cast in particular voting districts and video evidence showing many people throwing stacks of ballots into drop boxes, in violation of state law.
"The videos are shocking to the court and should be shocking to all the parties," the judge wrote.
The Judge's Newest Move
Clark allowed the attorneys involved 10 days to talk to local and state election officials about scheduling a new primary. In the meanwhile, it is unclear if city officials would appeal his ruling.
The general election scheduled for Tuesday will proceed regardless of the judge's ruling. Ganim will represent the Democrats in this election.
Gomes, the city's former top administrative officer, is on the ballot, too, as an independent candidate. Two further candidates for mayor are Lamond Daniels and Republican David Herz.
"This is a victory for the people of Bridgeport," Gomes said of Clark's decision, according to The Associated Press. "Our campaign always believed that the integrity of our democratic process must be upheld and Superior Court Judge William Clark agreed."