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Hialeah absentee-ballot tampering suspect was Miami-Dade poll worker

Sergio Robaina, facing absentee ballot tampering charges out of Hialeah, has worked as a seasonal precinct inspector for the Miami-Dade Elections Department for the past four years.

Records show that Robaina, 74, was paid to work during 11 elections ranging from races for seats on Hialeah’s City Council to the White House. He even worked elections in which his nephew, former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, was a candidate. Several voters said that for years Sergio Robaina passed by their homes to pick up their absentee ballots during these elections.

In mid-June, Robaina took a refresher training course in preparation for his job as an inspector at Precinct 362 at Hialeah’s Meadowlane Elementary School during the Aug. 14 elections. But he called in sick before he could take up his post.

Four days earlier, Miami Dade police arrested Robaina on two felony counts of tampering with the absentee ballots of a woman with dementia and her son. Some 35 voters have told El Nuevo Herald and The Miami Herald that Robaina collected their ballots prior to the recent elections.

When asked about Robaina’s employment at the county’s polls, Elections Supervisor Penelope Townsley said her office carefully reviews allegations.

“The Elections Department holds itself to the highest standards to ensure a fair, secure and convenient electoral process,” she said Friday in a statement.

More from Melissa Sanchez, Enrique Flor and Alfonso Chardy here.