4 Arrests Made in Connecticut Absentee Ballot Case

Bridgeport City Council member Alfredo Castillo and three others were arrested, charged, and released pending a June 24 court date.
4 Arrests Made in Connecticut Absentee Ballot Case
The Connecticut Supreme Court in a file photo. (Dreamstime/TNS)
Juliette Fairley
6/12/2024
Updated:
6/12/2024
CONNECTICUT—A Bridgeport city councilman and a Democratic Party operative were criminally charged on June 11 for allegedly unlawfully possessing another person’s absentee ballot.
Alfredo Castillo, 52, who represents Bridgeport City Council’s 136th District, and Bridgeport Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Wanda Geter-Pataky, 67, were arrested this week following allegations they mishandled absentee ballots in the 2019 Democratic Party mayoral primary.
“Integrity of our voting process is vital to our democracy,” Chief State’s Attorney Patrick Griffin said in a statement.
“I appreciate the attention and time the Statewide Prosecution Bureau put into these investigations. I hope these prosecutions will send a message that deters tampering with election results in the future in Connecticut.”
Neither Mr. Castillo nor the Bridgeport Democratic Party responded to requests for comment.
Campaign workers Nilsa Heredia, 61, and Josephine Edmonds, 62, were also arrested and charged. Ms. Geter-Pataky, along with Ms. Edmonds and Ms. Heredia, were charged with tampering with a witness, and Ms. Geter-Pataky, Mr. Castillo, and Ms. Heredia were charged with misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot.
All four were released and are expected to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on June 24.
Mr. Castillo is accused of failing to maintain an absentee ballot distribution list, misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot and failing to sign as an assister on an absentee ballot application in August 2019.
In a 2021 State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) deposition, Mr. Castillo first denied and then later admitted he had filled out portions of the application.
While City Council President Aidee Nieves, a Democrat who represents the 137th District, did not respond to requests for comment, 1133rd District Democrat City Councilman Aikeem Boyd said he is considering calling for Mr. Castillo’s resignation.
“I’m still processing it,” Mr. Boyd told The Epoch Times.
The arrests are long overdue, according to mayoral candidate John Gomes, who lost to incumbent mayor Joe Ganim in a court-ordered election in February. It was Bridgeport’s 4th election since Connecticut Superior Court Judge William Clark overturned the Democrat primary on Sept. 12, 2023, based on allegations of fraud. 
“Multiple elections happened while this evidence was in the state’s hand dating back to 2019,” Mr. Gomes told The Epoch Times. “Consequences need to be faster. They need to be swift, quick, and straight to the point.”
“We just want to compete in elections in a fair environment and too many avenues have opened up for fraud,” Fourth Congressional District GOP candidate Bob MacGuffie told The Epoch Times.
“No excuse absentee voting is no good.”
Democratic mayoral candidate John Gomes speaks with voters in Bridgeport, Conn., on Sept. 18, 2023. (Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP)
Democratic mayoral candidate John Gomes speaks with voters in Bridgeport, Conn., on Sept. 18, 2023. (Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP)
The SEEC is currently investigating the Bridgeport mayoral election.

Joshua Foley, SEEC’s senior attorney and information policy coordinator, told The Epoch Times in an email: “We have no comment on the arrests as we still have open matters regarding Bridgeport primaries and elections.”

Ms. Geter-Pataky, who is also a city employee, is accused of failing to sign as an assister on an absentee ballot application she had allegedly filled out on behalf of a prospective voter. She is also accused of misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot when she reportedly told a citizen not to vote in person and that she would pick up the citizen’s absentee ballot.
The citizen later told SEEC investigators that Ms. Geter-Pataky told her not to speak to anyone about the matter.
Mr. Ganim said in a statement to The Epoch Times that any irregularity is unacceptable.  
“We all agree that the integrity of the voting process is vital to our democracy,” he said. “Charges that question that integrity are of concern. I always stand for maintaining the rights of the voters and a fair election. The investigations pertaining to both 2019 campaigns are now in the hands of the courts and will be addressed through the justice system.”
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim testifies in Bridgeport, Conn., on Oct. 17, 2023. (Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP)
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim testifies in Bridgeport, Conn., on Oct. 17, 2023. (Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP)
However Mr. Gomes questioned Mr. Ganim’s sincerity because Ms. Geter-Pataky is still on the city payroll after having been placed on paid administrative leave in September 2023 pending the investigation.
Ms. Geter-Pataky is a City Hall greeter.
“There’s overwhelming evidence that crimes were perpetrated, and yet the mayor continues to leave her on the payroll on the back of taxpayers instead of holding her accountable,” Mr. Gomes added. “His actions speak louder than his comments.”
The defendants with no criminal history will likely avoid jail time and possibly avoid criminal convictions entirely, according to election attorney Cameron Atkinson.
Mr. Atkinson is representing Fight Voter Fraud (FVF) in litigation currently pending with the Connecticut Supreme Court.
“Those with a criminal history likely will get some jail time, especially if the state adds charges pertaining to the 2023 election,” Mr. Atkinson told The Epoch Times. “These charges are just for the 2019 election from what I am told.”

Mr. Atkinson filed 206 arrest warrants for suspected voter fraud on behalf of FVF, a 501(c)4 nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to election integrity. Oral arguments were held on May 1 before the Connecticut Supreme Court.

“Their arrests help our case,” Mr. Atkinson said. “We doubt that they would have been arrested for any crimes without the intense pressure that our case put on the prosecutors. We put an intense spotlight on at least one of these individuals and their actions over the past few election cycles. We will continue to force action and make sure that the prosecutors protect the people of Bridgeport.”

The Connecticut Supreme Court has yet to rule.

Juliette Fairley is a freelance reporter for The Epoch Times and a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Born in Chateauroux, France, and raised outside of Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Juliette is a well-adjusted military brat. She has written for many publications across the country. Send Juliette story ideas at [email protected]
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