The State Elections Enforcement Commission referred the alleged misuse of a false address by Rep. Christina Ayala of Bridgeport to criminal prosecutors Wednesday.
An SEEC investigation revealed evidence that Ayala “falsely registered to vote at the address in Bridgeport in July 2009 and remained registered at this address until January 2013.”
There is evidence she used the address to vote in nine primaries and elections, according to Attorney Kevin Ahern of the SEEC who investigated the matter. There also is evidence she ran for elected office twice using the address and applied for funds from the Citizens’ Election Program using the false address, he wrote in a statement.
Rep. Ayala’s mother Santa Ayala is the Democratic Registrar of Voters in Bridgeport and “may have conspired with Representative Ayala to commit fraud,” Ahern wrote in his statement to the commission.
Santa Ayala made news in 2010 when she failed to order enough ballots for that year’s election, which delayed the pronouncement of Dannel P. Malloy as governor.
Rep. Ayala did not immediately return calls for comment.
The possible criminal investigation is just the latest in the Ayala saga. Last month, she was accused of punching the girlfriend of her ex-boyfriend, who is accused of torching Ayala’s car. In June, she pleaded no contest to a motor vehicle charge stemming from a hit-and-run accident on primary day.
House Speaker Brendan Sharkey reacted swiftly to the news by removing Ayala from all three of her committee assignments.
“For an elected official, maintaining the public trust is paramount,” Sharkey said in a statement. “The fact that this case has moved to a different level calls into question whether that trust has been breached.”
Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane said he was unable to comment on the referral.
“I can’t comment on matters that may or may not be under investigation,” Kane said Wednesday. “If the election commission referred it to us, that’s public record that they referred it.”