While Miami Herald editorials usually cause me to roll my eyes and shake my head in disbelief, I found yesterday’s op-ed, Voters beware of boleteras, to be absolutely side-splitting.
The line, “Ms. Fernandez-Rundle is taking measures to prevent electoral fraud,” had me in stitches.
I almost bust a gut when I read, “This year, Ms. Fernandez Rundle is taking measures to prevent electoral fraud, including the launching of a hot line (305-547-3300) to report voting irregularities.”
Oh, the possibilities…
I’m sure the last thing good old Kathy wants to be reminded about is the absentee ballot problem in Miami-Dade County – the very jurisdiction in which she herself has to run for office to keep her seat.
I’m sure she doesn’t need reminding of the time she tried to quash the investigation of Hialeah boletera Deisy Cabrera, and stifled the efforts of the Public Corruption Unit for almost eight months, before disbanding the Unit altogether when they got too close to the truth.
After Cabrera was finally arrested, Rundle recused herself from the case because the name Al Lorenzo came up during the investigation.
Too bad the Miami Herald editor didn’t ask her why.
Speaking of Al Lorenzo, when North Miami Beach EX-Mayor/Current FELONY Defendant Myron Rosner was finally arrested on campaign finance fraud charges, Al Lorenzo’s fingerprints were all over that case as well. In fact, the investigation took an interesting turn as spelled out in then Ethics Commission Investigator Kennedy Rosario’s case memorandum. Rosario noted that the decision to investigate Lorenzo was bifurcated, or split from the investigation, “until such time as the Rosner investigation reached a conclusion. The question of possible Florida election violations would then be addressed through consultation with the Florida Elections Commission.”
As for Deisy Cabrera, if it weren’t for private investigators Joe Carrillo and Ana Lanuza, who dogged Rundle, and finally got the Governor to force the Broward County State Attorney’s Office to take the case, it would have died in Rundle’s office.
When it did finally go to trial, however, Cabrera only got a slap on the wrist and is probably back in business brokering ballots.
Despite overwhelming evidence of fraud, when the late State Representative John Patrick Julien took his challenger, the incumbent Barbara Watson, to court in Tallahassee in 2012, the judge refused to hear video testimony from nursing home residents who were unable to travel to the state capital due to insurance laws. As such, he effectively gave absentee ballot brokers, such as Noucelie Josna and Carline Paul, a pass. As a result, they were back in business, doing their thing again in North Miami’s 2013 election.
North Miami Beach’s 2013 election was also tainted by our very own ballot broker, Volney Nerette, who was photographed by Joe Carillo while walking down Northeast 19th Avenue on April 25, 2013 with an absentee ballot in his hand.
As I reported on May 12, 2013:
Mr. Carillo took these pictures to the Public Corruptions Unit in the hopes of getting them to open an investigation. They responded with (and I paraphrase), “Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.”
Another strange thing happened during the NMB 2013 Election. Since this case is still allegedly “under investigation” (after more than two years?), I’m not at liberty to divulge the details. What I will tell you is that certain ballot brokers were caught red handed with a handful of absentee ballots. When the investigators brought the case to Katherine Fernandez Rundle, she declined to open an investigation for “less than ten“ ballots.
As the Herald editor correctly noted, “It’s forbidden for anyone to turn in more than two absentee ballots to the elections department, according to an ordinance proposed by Miami-Dade Commissioner Rebeca Sosa and approved in 2011. Violators face a fine and jail time.”
Despite that ordinance, Rundle used fuzzy math to decide that “less than ten” trumped “more than two.”
Since I’ve probably already said too much about that particular investigation, suffice it to say that the chances are excellent it will never be resolved by the time the North Miami Beach 2015 Election rolls around. If ever. The alleged, and thus far oblivious, perpetrators are probably gearing up as we speak.
The Miami Herald editor warned yesterday, “As early voting gets underway and the Aug. 26 primary nears, authorities need to be alert to uncover the newest avalanche of ticket sellers, like the boleteras, willing to undermine the balloting to promote the election of corrupt politicians.”
I fear it’s already too late. I can practically guarantee that the absentee ballot brokers, or boleteras, are already out in full force.
At this point, the balloting process has already been undermined in way too many election cycles, and far too many corrupt politicians have already been elected, to reverse this trend.
The self-proclaimed Queen of Absentee Ballots, Noucelie Josna, is free to broker ballots in North Miami and North Miami Beach again next May.
The Teacher of “Correct” Voting, Carline Paul, is now running for office in North Miami, where she can finally put her nursing home ballot brokering skills to work for her own benefit.
Even if State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle got serious about cracking down on absentee ballot fraud, far too much damage has already been done.
Miami-Dade is by far the most corrupt county in our state when it comes to absentee ballot fraud. Until we get a state attorney who takes the law seriously, and is willing to go after the politicians who already won their seats due to absentee ballot fraud, it will probably continue.
While the Herald editor is commended for warning voters about the perils of boleteras, no one seems to be protecting nursing home residents, many of whom are mentally incapable of making an informed decision, from these predators.
Until the agencies charged with preventing election fraud step up and enforce laws regarding absentee ballots, the voters of Miami-Dade County will never be guaranteed a free and fair election.
“Spreading the Wealth”