In an Amended Complaint that was filed today in the Second Judicial Circuit in and for Leon County, Florida, State Representative John Patrick Julien is alleging absentee ballot voter fraud regarding the election of August 14, 2012. Not only is he naming as defendants his opponent, Barbara Watson, but also the Florida Secretary of State, Governor, Attorney General and Chief Financial Officer, all in their capacities as members of the Florida Elections Canvassing Commission; as well as three members of the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board, including the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections. Mr. Julien is contesting the certification of the election results, contending that some of the absentee ballots were fraudulently cast.
Why am I not shocked?
Now, you’re probably thinking that Mr. Julien doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of proving his allegations since we all know how difficult it is to prove absentee ballot fraud. As I’ve been told by former State Attorney/current Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public (dis)Trust, unless someone whose ballot has actually been compromised steps forward, or unless the ballot brokers are literally caught red handed, there’s very little that can be done to stop the boleteras from committing this heinous crime or prosecuting them after the fact. Combine that with the fact that until recently most enforcement agencies considered tackling absentee ballot fraud not at the top of their to-do list, and you can see why ballot brokering has been a very lucrative “business.”
Knowing all of this, I started reading Mr. Julien’s Complaint with a healthy dose of skepticism and wondering, “Where’s the beef?” So to speak.
I got to the “beef” on page 4 of the Complaint when Mr. Julien stated he “was approached by a woman named Noucelia Josna who gave JULIEN a business card that read ‘N. Josna, the Queen of Absentee Ballots’ (See Exhibit “A”.) Josna offered JULIEN her services of collecting absentee ballots for his campaign. JULIEN refused the offer despite her threat to work for his opponent.”
This would be the same Noucelie Josna I wrote about on August 23, 2011 in New Queen On The Block.
Mr. Julien further states that his opponent, Barbara Watson, paid Josna the sum of $5,000.00 for “canvassing,” and further stated that Josna then “improperly and illegally obtained multiple absentee ballots, without the voter’s consent, from several multi dueling [sic] residences within precincts 123 and 130 in State House District 107.”
Hmmm, cynic that I am, I’m thinking Mr. Julien is making one heck of an allegation. I hope he backs this claim up with some hard evidence, or else this will just sound like sour grapes.
I was not disappointed.
The Complaint goes on to name one Carline Paul, a/k/a “teacher Carline,” as a person who “appeared on Haitian Creole radio stations frequently listened to by voters in House District 107.” As per the attached Exhibit C, which is a certified translation from Haitian Creole to English of Ms. Paul’s announcements made “in the time between the date the absentee ballots were mailed and the date of the election,” the announcement was translated as:
“When you receive those absentee ballots at home, don’t let anyone take them! You must consult with someone you trust, or consult teacher Carline. She’ll help you understand what’s on the ballot in order to vote correctly.”
Teacher Carline goes on to tell her listeners that once they mail in their ballots they can’t vote again. Really? I didn’t know that! DUH! She also announced her phone number to her listeners.
The Complaint then states that Barbara Watson paid to Carline Paul’s company, Afrovisions PR/Advertising and Educational Consulting, Inc. the sum of $1,000.00 for “GTOV.” Whatever that is.
Are you still with me, folks? I hope so. It gets better.
The Complaint further states that between the dates of July 31, 2012 and August 14, 2012, the Miami-Dade County and/or the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board met several times to “rule as valid” the absentee ballots, 74 of which were received from precinct 123 and 98 from precinct 130.
Mr. Julien also cited Florida Statutes section 101.655, which states that “nursing home and assisted living facilities where more than five (5) absentee voters request absentee ballots should have voting of such residents in a supervised manner either requested by the administrator of the facility or at the supervisor’s discretion.” In precinct 123 in a nursing home by the name of Watercrest, from which ten absentee ballots were received by the Department of Elections, all ten were mailed on the same date, and that “no supervision of the absentee ballot voting by the Miami Dade Elections Department occurred at this facility.”
The plot thickens when the Complaint states that “the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections received a request for an absentee ballot, on the same day as they received other requests for the other voters at Watercrest, from an individual named Carol Ann Hodge.”
The problem is that Carol Ann Hodge “is believed to be deceased and/or no longer residing at Watercrest.”
I see dead people.
By sheer coincidence, the Elections Department received yet another absentee ballot on the same date from the same nursing home, i.e. Watercrest, by one Alma Lee Hogan, who is also “believed to be deceased and/or no longer residing at Watercrest.”
Yikes! More dead people.
In yet another stunning turn of events, a resident of Watercrest by the name of Lawrence Mathews, whose absentee ballot was likewise received and counted by the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections, “indicated he did not request an absentee ballot and he did not vote in the August 14, 2012 primary election.
Lo and behold, neither did Watercrest resident Naiomi Gilbert!
Both Mr. Mathews and Ms. Gilbert signed affidavits testifying to their non-voting, by absentee ballot or otherwise, which affidavits are presented as Exhibits to the Complaint.
In addition to dead people voting, the live ones who allegedly did vote claimed they all voted together one day, and that some of them filled out their own ballots or that “others completed their ballots for them,” but some have no recollection for whom they voted.
Sounds like informed voters to me!
Shockingly, “the administrators of Watercrest could not explain why group voting of absentee ballots occurred in the facility without the supervision of the Miami-Dade Elections Department.”
Gee, I wonder who organized that group voting session if no one recalls how it happened. More dead people?
(It’s also worthy to note that North Miami Beach EX-mayor Myron Rosner held a “party” at the Watercrest during his failed campaign in May of 2011. Just saying.)
Meanwhile, over in precinct 130, there’s another nursing home by the name of Clarige House, where six people requested absentee ballots. This also happens to be the same nursing home where the mother of Carline Paul, a/k/a teacher Carline, “resided for some time.” Also, “according to personnel…Carline Paul is still constant presence at Clarige House and was seen there during the time of the primary election by voter Lawrence Frank,” who is thankfully very much alive. Whew!
As was the case with Watercrest, a person by the name of Douglas Grant and a person by the name of Selma Seigel both claimed they neither requested absentee ballots nor voted in the August 14, 2012 primary election, yet somehow their ballots were counted.
Carline Paul was also seen by residents at Clarige House the day the absentee ballots were cast.
Luckily, no dead people at Clarige House voted.
Mr. Julien’s Complaint further explains in great detail the discrepancies between the early and in-person voting in those precincts as compared to the disproportionate number of absentee ballots received from them. He alleges that “the process of casting and gathering absentee ballots in Miami-Dade County, Florida has been tainted by fraud and illegality in some instances.” He further states that “the law requires special attention to absentee ballots that come from facilities that house individuals with special needs” and that anyone who renders voting assistance to someone with disabilities “must file a declaration with the county elections office in a form specified by the Florida Elections Code.”
Needless to say, neither Noucelie Josna nor Carline Paul, nor anyone else for that matter, filed any such declarations to assist the residents at Watercrest and Clarige House with absentee ballot voting for the August 14, 2012 primary election.
The Complaint cites case law, specifically in that now infamous 1997 City of Miami election where absentee ballot fraud was rampant, and which “states that the remedy for absentee ballot fraud is to invalidate all of the absentee ballots.” The Complaint further requests that since the alleged fraud “is concentrated in two specific precincts” that in order to resolve this particular issue, all the absentee ballots from precincts 123 and 130 should be invalidated.
Finally, Mr. Julien contends that by accepting and certifying the absentee ballots from these two precincts, at least six of which are already proven to be fraudulent by dead people casting votes and non-voter’s ballots being counted, not to mention those ballots obtained by people who may have “severe impediments preventing them from properly and legally casting their votes,” that the Secretary of Elections, the Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board, and the Florida Elections Canvassing Board have all “participated in the disenfranchisement of voters.”
The voters here in North Miami Beach and North Miami have long suspected rampant absentee ballot fraud. It’s not as if none of us have complained ad nauseam to the Elections Department, the State Attorney, the Ethics Commission, reporters, and anyone else who would listen. Or not listen, as the case may be.
Bloggers Genius of Despair and Gimleteye of Eye on Miami have not only extensively delved into absentee ballot fraud, but did an explosive series on a woman in an assisted living facility who was a victim and fought back.
This problem is SERIOUS, folks! It’s time for the agencies responsible for the oversight and enforcement of voting laws to take it seriously, too!
I don’t know if John Patrick Julien will win his court case. That’s for a judge and/or a jury to decide. But for the sake of the integrity of our elections, I hope he does prevail. Just think about this:
Every fraudulent absentee ballot that is counted as a vote in the State of Florida negates every one of ours.
Whether you realize it or not, as long as the crime of absentee ballot voting goes unchecked and unpunished, we are all disenfranchised.
“Spreading the Wealth”