The latest investigation of potential absentee ballot fraud in Miami-Dade County was triggered by a private investigator who went to police with his suspicions that a woman active in Hialeah politics was illegally collecting absentee ballots from voters.
Miami private investigator Joe Carrillo said he first went to Miami-Dade public corruption detectives last week about Daisy Cabrera, who Carrillo said had been handing out business cards to voters offering assistance with their ballots.
Carrillo obtained a copy of one of Cabrera’s cards, decorated with the stars and stripes and a handwritten message in Spanish on the back: “When the ballot arrives you call me. I work every election.”
Then, on Tuesday, Carrillo said he observed Cabrera knocking on doors in a Hialeah neighborhood before visiting the Hialeah campaign office of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who is seeking re-election Aug. 14. Cabrera then went to the Miami-Dade Elections office, and finally the post office, he said. Carrillo videotaped some of Cabrera’s travels.
A second woman, Matilde Martinez, is also being investigated by police and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, the sources said.
Gimenez has strongly denied that Cabrera and Martinez were involved with his campaign, and said he has repeatedly instructed all campaign workers not to touch any voters’ ballots.
“Those ladies do not work for me,” Gimenez said Thursday. “I hate this kind of activity.”
Carrillo said he began investigating after he was contacted by a group of “concerned citizens” who asked for his help snuffing out voter fraud in the city. He said he was not working for any current campaigns. Carrillo said he also investigated absentee-ballot fraud in Hialeah in 2006.
“This is the first time that we actively caught them with ballots in hand,” Carrillo said Thursday. “This is par for the course for how they do things in Hialeah.”