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Miami-Dade commissioner upset over release of Dolphins stadium referendum vote tally


Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz was under the impression that the incomplete results of the short-lived referendum regarding the Miami Dolphins' stadium would be kept secret.

So when he voted in the Sweetwater city election, he said he left blank the question asking voters to fund part of $350 million renovation to Sun Life Stadium. Miami-Dade canceled the referendum due to legislative inaction in Tallahassee -- after the ballots had been printed and absentee and early voting had begun.

But the day after the May 14 election, the county released a vote tally showing the referendum had been failing at the polls. The elections department was complying with public records requests. Vote counts can only be suppressed by a court order.

But Diaz was still upset.

"I feel like a disenfranchised voter for the first time in my life," he said at a commission meeting Tuesday. "We had our rights taken away by not being allowed to vote."

The vote tally, despite being a partial count of an incomplete election, was "broadcasted," said Diaz, who supported the Dolphins' effort to raise the mainland county hotel-tax rate to finance some of the stadium upgrades.

He acknowledged that there was nothing he could do but vented to his colleagues and county staff anyway.

"There's not supposed to be an outcome," Diaz said.