A second arrest has been made in a now expanding case of absentee ballot voter fraud, and the latest suspect has some interesting family connections.
Sergio Robaina, the 76-year-old uncle of former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, has been charged with two felony counts of voter fraud and two misdemeanor charges of possessing more than two absentee ballots belonging to others.
The latest rash of investigations began when 164 absentee ballots were dropped off at a post-office by Anamary Pedrosa, an aide to Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo, who represents a Hialeah-area district. (Bovo, by the way, maintains complete innocence and ignorance, and coincidentally Pedrosa no longer works for him.)
According to the Miami Herald, Robaina stands accused of filing out two ballots for a Hialeah man and his mother who suffers from dementia. Investigator interviewed many people whose ballots turned up at the post office, and several said that Robaina had come by to collect them and had been doing so for years.
Robaina's nephew Julio had been the mayor of Hialeah until he stepped down last year to run for Miami-Dade mayor. He lost to Carlos Gimenez.
The elder Robaina tells CBS Miami that sometimes he does mail ballots for others, but denies tampering with them.
"I have always collected ballots of different people, even for Esteban Bovo," Robaina told the station. "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."
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