Ballot Drop Boxes Become Central in Election Integrity Debate, Fueled by Actions of Two Democrats

by Madison Thomas
Election Integrity and Ballot Drop Boxes

A woman is captured on camera, approaching a ballot drop box under the cover of darkness, appearing to deposit multiple ballots. Another scene shows an individual making multiple trips to a different drop box to insert ballots. In yet another instance, multiple individuals are seen exiting the same vehicle on separate occasions to approach a drop box.

This is not a preview for a new conspiracy thriller about compromised elections. Rather, it is video footage fueling an ongoing dispute over the possibility of fraudulent activity related to ballot drop boxes, which have been in the crosshairs of conservative conspiracy theories since the defeat of former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Interestingly, the allegations surrounding these drop box incidents are not emanating from fringe election skeptics or from Republicans, who have historically been critical of the use of drop boxes. They are levied by two Democratic candidates competing for the mayoral position in Connecticut’s most populous city. This development has taken place in a state that began utilizing drop boxes as a voting option amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

This internal dispute among Democrats has been seized upon by Republicans, potentially setting the stage for a legal battle that may necessitate a new election. The event is seen as vindicating their long-standing concerns about the potential for fraud associated with the use of drop boxes.

State Representative Doug Dubitsky, a Republican, invoked the discredited film “2000 Mules” during legislative discussions concerning the controversy in the mayoral race in Bridgeport. “How can we be sure this is an isolated case limited to Bridgeport?” Dubitsky questioned, representing an area in Connecticut that has been trending conservative. “This could be happening across every municipality in this state. Eliminating these boxes entirely should be considered.”

While the controversy appears to be localized, involving accusations of fraud in a single municipal election, its ramifications could extend well beyond Bridgeport, a city of 148,000 residents. It poses broader implications for upcoming elections nationwide.

Donald Trump, who remains the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, continues to reinforce false claims regarding his loss in the 2020 election. Despite substantial evidence confirming the election’s legitimacy, a significant portion of Republicans still express doubts. Among the array of conspiracy theories that sustain this belief are those focusing on ballot drop boxes.

The debate around the Bridgeport videos has found traction on conservative social media platforms and media outlets. It links this localized incident to broader, unfounded claims about the 2020 election being “stolen.”

Election officials have spent years combating the perception that drop boxes are susceptible to fraud. “The risk is that this exception becomes the rule in the public’s perception,” said David Levine, a former local election official now a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy.

The videos emerged after the September 12 mayoral primary in Bridgeport between incumbent Joe Ganim and his rival, John Gomes. After losing by 251 votes out of 8,173, Gomes filed a legal challenge. Both candidates have been implicated in different videos showcasing dubious activities surrounding the drop boxes. Legal proceedings are set to commence soon, with Gomes either seeking a victory declaration or a new primary election.

State authorities have initiated an independent investigation. Republican lawmakers, who had previously questioned the security of drop boxes, consider the Bridgeport incident as vindication.

Drop boxes have generally been considered secure by election officials. Despite the controversies, multiple states utilize them with minimal issues. A study by The Big Big News found no cases of fraud or theft affecting the 2020 presidential election results related to drop boxes.

In response to ongoing skepticism, some states have restricted or completely banned the use of ballot drop boxes since 2020, according to data from the Voting Rights Lab.

“In this specific case, the issue appears to be campaign leadership permitting this sort of activity,” said Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director of Common Cause in Connecticut.

Connecticut’s Democratic-controlled legislature has successfully resisted attempts to prohibit drop boxes while also taking steps to address the ongoing controversy. They have urged waiting for the outcomes of ongoing investigations before making sweeping changes.

“Should we employ a wrecking ball strategy and ban this voting method entirely, or should we be more surgical in our approach to address a situation we all acknowledge is serious?” House Speaker Matt Ritter, a Democrat, recently queried reporters.

Reporting from Atlanta, Cassidy. Additional reporting by Big Big News writer Christine Fernando in Chicago.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Election Integrity and Ballot Drop Boxes

What is the central issue discussed in the article?

The article focuses on the ongoing controversy over the integrity of ballot drop boxes used in elections, particularly spotlighting recent allegations made by two Democratic candidates in a mayoral race in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Who are making the allegations regarding ballot drop box fraud?

The allegations are being made by two Democratic candidates who are vying for the mayoral position in Connecticut’s largest city, Bridgeport. These allegations have reignited discussions over the security of ballot drop boxes, which have been a subject of debate since the 2020 presidential election.

Have Republicans responded to these allegations?

Yes, Republicans have seized upon these allegations as validation of their long-standing concerns that ballot drop boxes are susceptible to fraud. State Representative Doug Dubitsky even suggested that drop boxes should be eliminated entirely.

Are these concerns about ballot drop boxes new?

No, concerns regarding the security and integrity of ballot drop boxes have been around, particularly among conservative circles, since the 2020 presidential election. The current incident has reignited these concerns and discussions.

What broader implications does this local controversy have?

While the controversy is localized to a mayoral race in Bridgeport, Connecticut, its ramifications could be national in scope. It could potentially influence the approach to ballot drop boxes and voting security in upcoming elections across the United States.

Are there any ongoing investigations or legal challenges related to this?

Yes, there is a legal challenge filed by John Gomes, one of the Democratic mayoral candidates in Bridgeport. The state of Connecticut has also initiated an independent investigation into the matter. The outcome could potentially necessitate a new election.

What steps have been taken at the state or national level concerning ballot drop boxes?

Since the 2020 election, five states have moved to ban ballot drop boxes while six have moved to limit their availability. In Connecticut, where this incident occurred, the Democratic-controlled legislature has so far resisted attempts to ban drop boxes.

Are ballot drop boxes generally considered secure?

Yes, many election officials consider ballot drop boxes to be a secure means of voting. A survey by The Big Big News found no cases of fraud, vandalism, or theft related to drop boxes in the 2020 presidential election that could have affected the results.

What is the general public perception about ballot drop boxes?

The perception varies. While election officials and some advocacy groups believe drop boxes are secure, ongoing conspiracy theories and incidents like the one in Bridgeport fuel skepticism about their integrity.

More about Election Integrity and Ballot Drop Boxes

  • Ballot Drop Box Security Measures
  • Connecticut Mayoral Race Controversy
  • Voter Security and Election Integrity
  • 2020 Presidential Election and Ballot Drop Boxes
  • Voting Rights Lab on Ballot Box Legislation
  • State-by-State Guide to Voting Access and Regulations
  • Conspiracy Theories Surrounding Ballot Drop Boxes

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John Davis October 7, 2023 - 6:29 pm

This article nails it! The Bridgeport incident is just the tip of the iceberg. We need a full overhaul of the voting system.

Catherine Lee October 7, 2023 - 10:24 pm

People need to understand that these are isolated incidents and don’t necessarily reflect the whole picture. Election officials have security measures in place for a reason.

Alex Foster October 8, 2023 - 2:21 am

Seriously, if we can’t even trust ballot drop boxes, what’s next? Might as well go back to the stone age and cast votes by carving on rocks.

Benjamin Hill October 8, 2023 - 3:01 am

If Democrats are the ones making these claims, doesn’t that kind of make you wonder? This isn’t some right-wing conspiracy theory, these are actual candidates in an election.

Mike Thompson October 8, 2023 - 4:03 am

Wow, just when you thought elections couldnt get any messier. Ballot boxes were supposed to make things easier, right?

Samuel Greene October 8, 2023 - 5:01 am

Been saying this for years, those drop boxes are a bad idea. Looks like I wasn’t wrong after all.

Emily Clark October 8, 2023 - 8:41 am

I think we should wait for the investigation to conclude before jumping to conclusions. I mean, it’s easy to point fingers but what’s the real story here?

Sarah Williams October 8, 2023 - 2:42 pm

Honestly, this is why people are losing faith in the system. You think you’re doing the right thing by voting, and then stuff like this comes up. so disheartening.


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