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Judge: Miami-Dade has power to enact absentee-ballot law

In its effort to crack down on voter fraud, Miami-Dade County has the authority to limit how many absentee ballots a voter can possess, a judge ruled Friday.

The ruling came in the case of Sergio “El Tio” Robaina, whose lawyers had challenged a county ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor to collect multiple absentee ballots.

Prosecutors say Robaina, 74, illegally collected absentee ballots and filled out two against the wishes of two voters, one of them a woman with dementia. He faces two felony counts of voter fraud, and two misdemeanor counts of illegally possessing absentee ballots.

The Miami-Dade County Commission, worried about the perception of election fraud, passed the ordinance two years ago. A person may turn in only two absentee ballots in addition to their own: one belonging to an immediate family member and another belonging to a voter who has signed a sworn statement designating that person as responsible.

Friday’s order by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch was his second ruling against Robaina.

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