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Miami-Dade police launches absentee-ballot fraud probe

Miami-Dade law-enforcement authorities have launched an investigation into potential absentee-ballot fraud connected to next month’s primary election.

Rumors swirled late Wednesday that two women were being questioned by police after being caught with a bundle of absentee ballots in Hialeah, a political hotbed where many elderly residents prefer to vote by mail. But few details were available from police and prosecutors.

State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, herself on the Aug. 14 ballot, issued a statement urging voters to take special care with their ballots. Her statement, regarding “an ongoing investigation of individuals collecting or handling absentee ballots,” noted a county ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to pick up or return more than two absentee ballots other than their own.

“All of Miami-Dade County’s voters should be very careful with their absentee ballots,” Rundle said. “The ordinance contains very specific language on how absentee ballots are now to be handled.”

The target of the investigation, by the Miami-Dade police public corruption unit, is unclear.

Political Cortadito, a local blog run by former Miami Herald reporter Elaine de Valle, reported that two women were detained by police in Hialeah on Wednesday afternoon with about a dozen absentee ballots. Police and prosecutors declined to confirm or deny the report. More here.