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Despite arrests, Miami-Dade ballot brokers prepare for 2013 municipal elections

When two well-known absentee-ballot brokers in Hialeah were arrested four months ago on charges of electoral fraud, several of their accomplices stayed away from politics, fearing they would be discovered during the campaigns leading up to the November elections.

However, given authorities’ apparent lack of interest in investigating the cases, some of the Miami-Dade ballot brokers, known as boleteros, have already begun to coordinate the collection of absentee ballots for next year.

There will be elections in 2013 in 15 of Miami-Dade’s 35 municipalities, among them the largest cities in the county — Miami, Hialeah and Miami Beach.

“When I saw on television that they had arrested that woman in Hialeah, I told my husband, ‘I’m glad it wasn’t me,’ ” said an experienced boletera who has worked for several municipal campaigns during the past decade.

“But I think it’s unfair that the politicians who hire us can simply wash their hands and not one of them has been arrested,” added the woman, who asked to remain anonymous.

So far there has not been a deep investigation into the politicians who benefited from the work ofboleteros Deisy Cabrera and Sergio Robaina, who were arrested in August. Authorities made the arrests under a county ordinance that, beginning last July, penalized those who collect more than two ballots belonging to other people.