Police arrested Connecticut state Rep. Christina “Tita” Ayala (D-Bridgeport) Friday on 19 voting fraud charges. The Chief State’s Attorney’s Office said in a press release that Ayala allegedly voted in local and state elections in districts where she does not reside.
Ayala also allegedly fabricated evidence to investigators with the state Election Enforcement Commission, providing an inaccurate address to justify her voting in a district where she doesn’t actually live, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Photo contributed to New Haven Register
The voter fraud charges come after the Elections Enforcement Commission referred the case to the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and recommended criminal charges in 2013.
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Ayala allegedly voted in various Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee elections, a municipal primary election and a state primary election between 2009 and 2012 in districts inconsistent with the location of her residence, according to the release. She is also accused of voting in the Bridgeport state general election in 2012 in a district where she didn’t live.
According to the Connecticut Post, Ayala’s mother, Santa, was also investigated by the Elections Enforcement Commission. The commission also recommended criminal charges be filed against Santa Ayala, the Democratic registrar of voters in Bridgeport, but none have been filed as of Friday.
Christina Ayala was charged with eight counts of fraudulent voting, 10 counts of primary or enrollment violations and one count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.
Ayala faces the possibility of decades in prison if convicted on all charges as "fraudulent voting is a felony punishable by not less than one year or more than two years in prison and a fine of $300 to $500 per count" and primary or enrollment violations and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence comes with a "maximum prison sentence of up to five years per count," according to the Register.
This is not her first experience with the criminal justice system either.
Roughly two years ago, Ayala was fined for her involvement in a hit-and-run car accident. She later faced domestic violence charges after she got into a fight with her boyfriend, but they were dropped when she completed required counseling.