Court hears Stamford voter fraud case, former Democratic president faces 28 Class D felonies

People who oppose the expanded use of mail-in ballots in elections will find fodder for their arguments at a criminal trial in Stamford.

The city’s former Democratic Party chairman is accused of tampering with 14 mail-in ballots during the 2015 mayoral election, when Stamford voters held seats on the Council of Representatives, Finance Council and Council education.

John Mallozzi has pleaded not guilty to 28 Class D felonies, half to second-degree forgery and the other half to filing false statements in a mail-in ballot.

In Stamford State Superior Court on Tuesday, Mallozzi’s attorney, Stephan Seeger, said his client was the heartthrob of the broken mail-in voting system that existed at the Stamford City Clerk’s Office in 2015 .

Then-clerk Donna Loglislci allowed policies “to stray far from the norm,” Seeger said, when she delivered ballots to Mallozzi in violation of state law. A state inspector who investigated the case said Loglisci should have been charged, but she was not, Seeger said.

Mallozzi chose a trial bench, so Judge Kevin Randolph, hearing the case, will deliver a verdict rather than a jury.

“I encourage the court to pay attention to the element of deception,” Seeger told the judge in his opening statement. Loglisci “had an agreement” with Mallozzi and was operating away “from his official duties”, he said.

The prosecutor, Deputy Prosecutor Laurence Tamaccio, opened her case by saying that voting is a sacred democratic right and that voter fraud “is an affront to this fundamental ideal”.

Tamaccio said he will call a handwriting expert as a witness who will show that Mallozzi forged the signatures of voters who were unaware that mail-in ballots had been withdrawn in their names.

Tamaccio’s first witness on Tuesday was Loglisci, who served as Stamford town clerk from 2001 until 2017, when voters failed to re-elect her. Loglisci testified in response to a subpoena, according to his testimony.

Tamaccio asked Loclisci to explain the laborious procedure for responding to mail-in ballot requests and then processing the “settled” ballot once a request is verified using state voter rolls.

The set includes an outer envelope, instructions, a ballot, and an inner envelope, and must be returned properly completed, packaged, and signed by the voter. It is time-stamped, dated, recorded and stored, unopened, in a safe once received by the clerk’s office, Loglisci said.

On election day, the clerk delivers absentee ballots to voter registrars to be counted.

Loglisci testified that Mallozzi, who as Democratic Party chairwoman was often in her office, asked during the run-up to the 2015 election if she could provide ballots to voters who were unable to turn up. at the polls.

When asked on the witness stand if this would be “in the right procedure”, Loglisci replied, “No”. When asked if she “agreed nevertheless to provide the ballot papers” to Mallozzi, Loglisci replied “Yes”.

Seeger jumped on this point during cross-examination.

“You gave ballots to people who weren’t the candidates and that’s against the law, isn’t it?” Seeger asked.

“Yes,” replied Loglisci.

“How many times have you provided Mr. Mallozzi with ballot papers? Seeger asked.

“A few times,” Loglisci said.

“So every time you provided the ballot, you broke the law, right?” Seeger asked.

“Yes, I did,” Loglsici replied.

Judge Randolph intervened, telling Seeger, “the procedural integrity of the clerk’s office” is irrelevant.

“If the thrust of the testimonial is, ‘Your desk is sloppy,’ where does that leave us?” asked the judge. “The court wants to see the logical line between this questioning and the elements of the offence”, which is electoral fraud.

Randolph then adjourned until Wednesday morning, when Seeger’s cross-examination of Loglisci will continue.

At least one current employee of the Clerk’s Office has received a subpoena to testify.

The case broke during the 2015 municipal elections, when a man was told at his polling station that he could not vote because he had already voted by post.

It turned out that a ballot had been drawn in the man’s name without his knowledge. Investigators said they traced him back to Mallozzi. They later said they found 13 other ballots that appeared to have been tampered with.

Mallozzi, who chaired the Democratic Town of Stamford Committee from 2012 to 2016 and served on the Central Democratic State Committee, was arrested in January 2019 after a 20-month investigation by state election officials, who then assigned the case to the state attorney.

About Jessica J. Bass

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