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Miami-Dade absentee ballot-fraud probe expands

Investigators looking into possible vote fraud in Hialeah are now examining at least 31 absentee ballots collected by a suspected ballot broker in two separate instances last week, according to sources familiar with the expanding probe.

Last week, Miami-Dade detectives questioned a Hialeah woman named Daisy Cabrera, who was found in possession of at least a dozen absentee ballots belonging to other voters. Detectives have also learned of another instance in which Cabrera collected ballots from voters, the sources said.

In all, 31 ballots have been segregated at the Miami-Dade elections department, where the ballots are set aside along with their envelopes bearing the names and addresses of the voters who cast the ballots. Miami-Dade detectives have interviewed many of those voters over the past few days to determine if the ballots correspond to the voters’ intentions, the sources said.

Cabrera could face charges under a municipal ordinance that makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to possess more than two ballots of other voters. But police and prosecutors are investigating further to determine if voters were misled, or if their ballots were altered — which could be evidence of felony vote fraud, a charge with harsher penalties.

One elderly voter told El Nuevo Herald that Cabrera filled out her absentee ballot for her on July 22. Another voter told El Nuevo Herald that Cabrera filled out ballots for her and her husband twice last year in local elections — and offered to help the voter move up a public housing waiting list. Cabrera has declined to comment.

The investigation was triggered by a Miami private investigator, Joe Carrillo, who followed Cabrera last week as she visited several Hialeah apartment buildings and homes and the Hialeah campaign office of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who is seeking reelection in the Aug. 14 primary. Cabrera has also been photographed with the mayor at his campaign events in recent weeks. More here.