Democratic official in Stamford charged with ballot fraud
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A former chairman of Stamford’s Democratic Committee was arrested Wednesday and charged with absentee ballot fraud and forgery.
Prosecutors accuse John Mallozzi, of Stamford, of orchestrating the filing of as many as 29 fraudulent absentee ballot applications and 26 fraudulent ballots during the 2015 municipal elections, many involving members of the city’s Albanian-American community.
He faces 14 counts each of second-degree forgery and making a false statement in absentee balloting. Each count carries a possible five-year prison sentence.
Mallozzi’s attorney, Stephan Seeger, said that there was no criminal intent by his client and that the problem lies in what he called the irregular procedure of filling out, collecting and filing those ballots. Mallozzi will plead not guilty, he said.
“My client’s conduct at any juncture was not meant to deceive or to skew election results in any why whatsoever,” Seeger said. “He acted in good faith at all junctures.”
According to the arrest affidavit, a complaint was filed by the city’s Republican registrar of voters after a resident whose name was listed on an absentee ballot that had been submitted by Mallozzi showed up in person to vote on Election Day.
The writing on the absentee ballot did not match the handwriting on the voter’s registration card, according to the affidavit
Fourteen voters listed on absentee ballots or applications told investigators that they had not requested an absentee ballot, according to the affidavit.
Investigators later linked the handwriting on numerous ballots to samples given by Mallozzi, according to the arrest affidavit.
Election officials reported that 708 of 11,858 votes in the 2015 election were cast by absentee ballot for seats on the city’s Board of Representatives, Board of Education and Board of Finance.
Mayor David Martin, a Democrat, said in a statement that Mallozzi has been a good friend for 35 years and that he does not know whether the allegations are true.
“I can only hope — for the friendship I’ve had with John and for the sanctity of our city’s elections — that these charges are not true,” he said. “Voting is one of the most sacred processes in our democracy and I hope these charges will lead to renewed faith in our society’s belief in democracy and justice.”
Mallozzi is free after posting a $50,000 bond and is due back in court on Feb. 11.