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Herald: Commissioner, Uncle Of Fmr. Hialeah Mayor Implicated In Absentee Ballot Probe

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A Miami-Dade County Elections Department voting machine during pre-election testing. (Source: CBS4)

A Miami-Dade County Elections Department voting machine during pre-election testing. (Source: CBS4)

CAMPAIGN 2012
campaign 2012 new2 Herald: Commissioner, Uncle Of Fmr. Hialeah Mayor Implicated In Absentee Ballot Probe

MIAMI (CBS4) – The absentee ballot scandal, which has already marred two Miami-Dade political campaigns, has now focused its attention on a county commissioner and the uncle of Hialeah’s former mayor.

According to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald, Sergio “Tio” Robaina has been named as a ballot broker, or “boletero” in Spanish, who dropped off absentee ballots at Commissioner Esteban Bovo’s Hialeah office. The ballots were later dropped off at a local post office by an aide of Bovo, the paper said.

Bovo’s aide is reportedly cooperating with police and is giving authorities information about Sergio Robaina, who’s nephew is former mayor Julio Robaina.

The paper described Bovo as “shocked” to hear of the allegations and knew nothing of the investigation.

Sergio Robaina, 74, denies any involvement. Julio Robaina could not be reached by the paper for comment.

“I never left anything there. I didn’t leave a single ballot,” Robaina, 74, said. But he admitted that “sometimes” he does collect ballots and mails them. “I have always collected ballots of different people, even for Esteban Bovo. People call and ask for ballots. Then, you go and they put a seal on it and they send it. I’ve collected ballots because the person can’t. But mostly they send them. They have to be very old or something. And the ballots have to be sealed.”

Last week, Hialeah resident Deisy Cabrera, 56, turned herself in on charges she was collecting absentee ballots from numerous Hialeah residences and forging voter signatures before mailing them off to election officials. She is the only broker that has been charged so far and is currently out on bond.

It is against the law to possess more than two absentee ballots in Florida.

For more on this in-depth story, visit The Miami Herald website.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)

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