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Stamford’s former Democratic Party boss charged with falsifying absentee ballots

January 30, 2019

STAMFORD — The former head of the city’s Democratic Party has been charged with 14 counts each of filing false statements and second-degree forgery in an identity-theft scheme involving absentee ballots stemming from the 2015 municipal election.

John Mallozzi, who chaired the Democratic City Committee at the time, was charged Wednesday after turning himself in at Stamford Police headquarters. According to his arrest affidavit, Mallozzi’s bail was set at $50,000. It states that both charges are Class D felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 per count.

Mallozzi is charged with falsifying absentee ballots by filling them out for voters, including family members and Albanian-Americans in Stamford. The Advocate reported in June 2017 that the state’s attorney’s office had opened a criminal investigation into the matter.

Investigators found that voters’ signatures on the absentee-ballot applications were not the same as the signatures on their corresponding voter registration cards. A forensic science examiner determined that signatures on a number of the ballots “share common authorship” with signatures obtained from Mallozzi, according to the affidavit.

It was not a high-stakes election. In 2015, Stamford voters cast ballots to fill five open seats on the Board of Representatives, five on the Board of Education, and three on the Board of Finance. Only 20 percent of Stamford voters even bothered to show up at the polls.

No state or national offices were up for grabs. It was strictly municipal, with candidates running on the perpetual issues of spending, tax increases, school crowding, traffic, road repaving, train-station parking and affordable housing.

Information from Stamford’s Democratic and Republican registrars of voters shows that 708 votes were cast by absentee ballot in the 2015 election. They accounted for 6 percent of the total 11,858 votes.

But, because turnout was so low, the small number of absentee ballots had the potential to influence individual races.

In the Board of Representatives races, for example, Democratic incumbent Michael Briscoe of District 17 was declared the winner, defeating Republican Jon Hoch by one vote. A recount, however, declared Hoch the winner by one vote.

On the Board of Finance, Democrat David Kooris beat the next-highest vote-getter, Republican Dennis Mahoney, by 99 votes. The difference in their absentee-ballot votes, 351 for Kooris and 242 for Mahoney, was 109 — enough to turn the race.

Mallozzi was arrested by inspectors from the Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk, the result of an investigation by that office following a complaint from the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Stamford’s two registrars of voters alerted state election officials after a man showed up at the District 8 polling place in the city’s Cove neighborhood and was told he couldn’t cast his ballot because he was recorded as having voted by absentee ballot.

Mallozzi is scheduled to be arraigned in Stamford Superior Court Feb. 11. The case will be prosecuted by the office of State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr., who in a statement thanked inspectors in his Stamford/Norwalk office, the State Elections Enforcement Commission, the Department of Emergency Services, the Public Protection Division of Scientific Services, and the Stamford Police Department for their work on the case.

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