MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Reginald Martin lives in a small home with his wife in Little Haiti. The 62-year-old has been retired since a stroke eight years ago.
On his porch, CBS4’s David Sutta pulled up the Miami-Dade elections website on his iPhone. After providing his birth date, Martin’s information popped up. Sutta showed Martin that on July 31st he received an absentee ballot for the August primary. The elections site shows he returned the ballot a few days later.
“Mr. Martin, when was the last time you voted?” Sutta asked him. “Before the last presidential election,” he said. “2008?” Martin quickly replies, “Yeah. 2008.” Sutta then showed him the site again that shows he voted in August. He said, “I didn’t. Not me. I never did vote.”
Martin, then explains the only election he’s voting in this year is still two weeks away. “Are you sure it’s possible you didn’t forget,” Sutta asked. “I didn’t fill out nothing,” he said.
Mr. Martin is not alone. There is also Rosa Johnson, a woman in her eighties and lives a few blocks away. She was quite confused about the situation. It’s something we saw over and over again.
People who lived in poor districts, who were elderly, who were confused, who all told CBS4 that someone showed up at their door and asked them if they were voting for Obama.
“It was about July,” Martin said, referring to when the person came knocking on his door. The timing seems to match when the request came in for his absentee ballot.
“You are talking to people that are very fragile. People who are afraid of you. People who have no idea if they vote or not, if they sign or not, for whom they vote, what kind of elections are we talking about. It’s really sad,” Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia told CBS4.
Garcia paid $10,000 for a private investigator to dig up absentee ballot fraud. His motivation? He believes he lost his August election because of it.
“It’s really an ugly situation when you won the early vote and the day of the election and then you lose only with the absentee ballot. It’s something that doesn’t taste good at all,” Garcia said.
Although he filed a lawsuit in hopes of exposing the fraud, he’s not very optimistic. People like Reginald Martin don’t make great witnesses.
“Most of them are very afraid to talk,” Garcia explained. Garcia plans to take his fight to Tallahassee to pressure lawmakers to take action. He sees it as a fight for people like Martin, a man with no means and now no vote.
“I ain’t got nothin. I ain’t got nothin,” Martin told CBS4.
Garcia is still debating whether he will go forward with the lawsuit, slated to go to trial on Friday.
If you are curious whether you submitted an absentee ballot in the August primary, help is available. Just enter your information and look towards the bottom of the page to see when and how you voted: http://www.miamidade.gov/elections/regist-status.asp