Authorities said Gladys Coego, 74, a temporary Election Support Specialist, was caught red-handed by colleagues on Tuesday filling in ballots that originally left blank the selection for mayor.
Investigators said Coego, however, has no affiliation with Regalado, the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, or her campaign.
The Republican candidate spoke out about being caught in the middle of the controversy and about her opponent, incumbent Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. And much like an election debate, both candidates blamed each other for the alleged incident.
“Instead of getting angry, he should do his job,” said Regalado. “He’s the head of the elections department and as a strong mayor of Miami-Dade County, he is ultimately responsible for everything that happens at the elections department. And instead of being angry at me, he needs to sit down with (Elections Supervisor) Christina White and see who hired these people, why their backgrounds weren’t checked, how much access were they given, why are they conducting this business without cameras and without supervision.”READ MORE: Residents fed up with Biscayne Bay parties
Regalado insisted she does not know Gladys Coego.
“As the candidate and the victim, I’m outraged,” said Mayor Gimenez. “That somebody could try to basically commit fraud, voter fraud, it’s outrageous. So I’m very happy that our elections department caught the person. And you know, apparently she didn’t do that much damage. But it’s something that I’m going to ask our elections supervisor to look through our procedures and make sure something like this never, ever happens again.”
Regalado believes, as mayor, she already has a fix for this type of issue.
“What I will do as mayor of Miami-Dade County is put on the ballot to have an elected head of elections,” she said. “We do not and should not have the mayor as the head of elections.”MORE NEWS: 'Hidden Worlds': An immersive voyage into deepest oceans & mesmerizing mangroves through state-of-the-art technology
Coego, who is facing third-degree felony charges, bonded out of jail Friday. Her case goes next to the State Attorney’s office.