Three days before Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, his hometown Democratic Party committee announced it was cooperating with a state investigation of possible voter fraud in last fall’s municipal elections.
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
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.”