By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
MIAMI— The spotlight is reigning down on South Florida as witnesses and investigators are coming forward with new information in the brewing voter fraud scandal in Florida’s most populous county.
The investigation began in the city of Hialeah on July 25, when police officers claimed to have found a woman in the possession of nearly to 20 absentee ballots, according to El Nuevo Herald, the result of a tip by private investigator Joe Carrillo.
An ordinance adopted by the Miami-Dade County Commission last year makes it a crime for any person to possess more than two absentee ballots that aren’t their own, a measure enacted to address past electoral problems that invited several well-known cases of voter fraud which swung the Miami mayoral election in 1998.
Private eye Joe Carrillo told Florida Watchdog he sent the Anti-Corruption Unit of the Miami-Dade Police Department a business card, allegedly from Daisy Cabrera to potential voters, which read: “when the ballot arrives you call me. I work every election,” according to Carrillo.
On July 30, Carrillo was summoned to testify before the Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
The central focus is on who employed two women known as “boleteras,” or people who collect absentee ballots, as well as the key role of Carrillo, who first lead investigators to Cabrera.
“They wanted to know the details of how I communicated with the police, what was my job here and that I did nothing improper,” Carrillo told reporters outside the prosecutor’s office on July 31.
“They asked me for sources. But detectives never expose their sources and I will refuse to do so. I would rather go to prison than divulge that information. Not everything happening here has to do with police. We are in an election and everyone wants to know this information,” he said, reiterating the importance of the matter.
“They told me they have good reasons so far for not filing charges,” he said after consulting with the prosecutor’s office.
Carrillo went on to explain that he had observed Cabrera for several days while she collected absentee ballots, adding that she visited the campaign office of incumbent Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who is running for re-election against County Commissioner Joe Martinez.
“Last Tuesday (July 24) when Cabrera visited the post office and sent 19 absentee ballots, that was enough for me,” said Carrillo.
A pattern of absentee ballot fraud
At the same time that possible absentee ballot fraud was discovered in Hialeah, activist Vanessa Brito sent in an affidavit to the prosecutor’s office about another case of potential voter fraud in Miami-Dade’s District 5.
“Last week I signed an affidavit affirming that many absentee ballots had been taken from Rebecca Tower in District 5. We had a witness and several voters who said that several people were collecting absentee ballots,” said Brito, who is also the head of the Miami Voice PAC.
“Absentee ballot fraud is a problem that exists in the county and has existed for many years,” she said.
“The main question is who hired the ballot collectors? It is not necessarily the fault of the collectors, as they may be humble people who do not even know the law, but the fault lies with the political consultants who hired them.”
Spanish language interviews with Brito and Carrillo: