Connecticut investigating possible ballot fraud in governor’s home town
On July 11, the Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission (EEC) contacted the Stamford Democratic City Committee “regarding an inquiry into possible violations related to the use of absentee ballots cast in the November 2015 elections,” committee chairman Josh Fedeli said in a statement issued last Friday.
In an interview, Fedeli would not say whether the city Democratic committee is the target of the investigation or simply assisting the EEC.
“We were contacted by the state investigators to provide information related to the investigation,” he said from Philadelphia, where he was attending the Democratic National Convention. “We’re certainly working with them to provide them information related to the investigation. Because it is an investigation at this point, there’s not really much else we can say.”
The EEC also would not confirm whether the city Democratic committee is being investigated or is suspected of wrongdoing.
The EEC is investigating a complaint from the Nov. 3, 2015, municipal elections in Stamford in which Republican Registrar of Voters Lucy Corelli alerted officials to a suspected case of ballot fraud.
According to Corelli’s complaint, Stamford’s town clerk called the District 8 voting precinct at roughly 12:30 p.m. on Election Day with instructions to mark resident Shkodran Hoti of 89 Euclid Ave. as having voted absentee. “At about 6:15 pm Shkodran Hoti of 89 Euclid Ave. arrived @ District 8 to vote,” according to a hand-written note from one of the district moderators that was included in Corelli’s complaint.
Hoti said at the time that neither he nor anyone in his household requested an absentee ballot, according to the complaint. He was “understandably quite concerned” and asked that he be shown the absentee ballot application. Per state law, he was allowed to vote after signing an affidavit stating that he had not attempted to vote either in person or absentee in that election.
Neither Corelli nor Stamford City Clerk Donna Loglisci would comment for this story, citing the continuing investigation. Hoti did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Joshua Foley, an attorney for the EEC, said Corelli’s request for an investigation was recorded on Dec. 3 and “brought to our commission on the 15th of December.” The referral went through “the normal process for the commission to make the jurisdictional decision that we should be investigating,” he said.
Foley said he was not aware of any EEC investigation involving Stamford’s Republican Town Committee.
On Friday, the same day Stamford Democrats announced their participation in the state investigation, the Hartford Courant reported that the U.S. attorney has convened a grand jury to investigate whether the state Democratic Party illegally aided Malloy’s 2014 re-election campaign by paying for campaign mailers with donations from state contractors.
Although Connecticut has a reputation for political corruption, as the Courant noted in a Wednesday editorial, Foley cautioned that “voter fraud is extremely, extremely rare. It almost never happens.”