Suarez also plans to introduce reforms that could clean up future elections. For example, his mayoral campaign drew attention to (and criticism of) absentee-ballot brokers, those people who collect bundles of absentee ballots for their candidates -- people like 92-year-old Alberto Russi, who witnessed votes cast by dozens of Hernandez and Suarez voters, including the deceased Manuel Yip, before FDLE investigators arrested him in November.
"If they are concerned about brokers," Suarez ventures, "they should just limit the number of people involved in it. Maybe have only fifteen people deputized, and all of them have to be notary publics or some other highly regulated field. Or maybe just deputized."
The brainstorm continues: "Absentee ballots are a lot more verifiable than regular ballots, which are just signatures, and you don't even know if the signature is real. I'm going to suggest at the hearing that they do something about that. They should have IDs on voter registrations.
"A third item I will suggest: comparison of Bureau of Vital Statistics logs of deceased people to voters. My father-in-law was listed as a voter many years after he died. One of the things that we used to hear about is dead people voting. It seems to me that Leahy should do a reel-to-reel comparison. It's a simple thing to do. And there can be other comparisons, like the City of Miami zoning classifications crossed against people voting in certain areas. Maybe the address of someone who voted was in an area that isn't zoned for residential. It would be very simple to check.
"I have other ideas," he offers, quickly moving beyond point number three. "What I'd like to do for seniors is to be able to let them vote by absentee ballots using thumbprints instead of signatures. I'm willing to show the committee how my signature has deteriorated over the years to where it's totally unrecognizable.
"And I'm only 48," he injects jokingly, "and in extremely good shape."
The Senate subcommittee is scheduled to meet January 12 at Miami-Dade Community College's Wolfson Campus. David Leahy has been invited to speak, as has Joe Carollo. The former mayor, however, already has something to say.
"If all these wonderful ideas that he's talking about would have been implemented during the election, he would not be at city hall right now," Carollo mutters. "It's just outrageous, totally outrageous for him to be making those kinds of statements when he knows full well what went on in his campaign -- and also in the campaign of his newfound buddy Humberto Hernandez. He should win the Hypocrite of the Year award."