Arrest Made In Absentee Ballot Case
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HIALEAH (CBSMiami) – The Hialeah woman at the center of an investigation regarding brokered absentee ballots for the upcoming election has bonded out of jail after turning herself in on a felony arrest warrant.
Early Thursday evening, Deisy Cabrera, 56, walked out of jail clutching her attorney’s arm. She had no comment when questioned by CBS4′s Maggie Newland as she walked toward the car.
The case started after Jose Carrillo tipped off authorities that Cabrera was collecting absentee ballots from numerous Hialeah residences, according to the arrest affidavit.
“I’m very glad that it raised to the level of a felony,” said Carrillo.“They are stealing the most precious thing we have which is our vote from the elderly helpless people.”
Authorities said they followed Cabrera through Hialeah before she drove to Doral and went into the Miami-Dade County Elections Department headquarters. Police said they saw her submit a small stack of absentee ballot request forms.
Police then followed Cabrera to the Post Office where they said she put absentee ballots into the mail. Detectives later found a total of 19 absentee ballots that were copied under supervision from the post office, according to the arrest affidavit.
Police said Cabrera went to a an assisted living facility to retrieve a signature from an elderly woman whom police described as unresponsive and didn’t answer either Cabrera’s questions or questions from the detective immediately after Cabrera left.
According to the affidavit, police said Cabrera was followed to five other locations which they believed were assisted living facilities.
Police then stopped Cabrera and found she was carrying a dozen absentee ballots that were signed, sealed, and appeared to detectives to be completed. The ballots were later sent to the Miami-Dade Elections Department.
Cabrera was interviewed by police and initially denied being at the Post Office but later changed her statement, before asking for an attorney, thus ending the interview.
Detectives later talked to relatives of the first elderly woman Cabrera visited and were told the woman can’t write, comprehend, or communicate, according to the arrest affidavit.
According to detectives, when they examined the ballot from the woman who was unable to communicate, it had a note above the signature block that said “The lady who is my sister signed this way because she has arthritis…it’s hard for her to sign. Thanks.”
Cabrera faces three charges, including a third-degree felony, related to her absentee ballot actions.
“The department of elections has isolated and has segregated the 31 ballots,” said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “So they’re protected and I believe they are not open I’m told…. it did allow the police to go back and interview the voters and in that process it was discovered that one of the voters indeed had not filled out the ballot had not signed the ballot. That unfortunately its believed and its alleged that ms Cabrera did.”
In true Miami political form, Fernandez Rundle’s opponent in the upcoming election, Rod Vereen, had accused her of dragging her feet on the case because of possible ties to Cabrera.
Fernandez Rundle said allegations that one of her campaign staffers was seen in the company of Cabrera are unsubstantiated.
However, she has asked that another prosecutor’s office handle the case to avoid any “distraction.”