Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Part 1 - Absentee Ballot Fraud: Vote Stolen from a Disabled Woman. By Geniusofdespair

Link to the video.

Judith Thompson (in the short video above) tried to vote in North Miami Beach but was told she already voted. She was a victim of absentee ballot voter fraud. The crooks assumed when they stole her absentee ballot that because of her disability Judith would not try to vote on election day. She did go to vote. This is her story.

When I was told of Judith's plight by one of our readers, I called Elections with her on the line to see what could be resolved. They would not send her the absentee ballot envelope or even a copy of what she was supposed to have signed, so I would have to take her down to Elections to see it as she is disabled. I went to pick her up at the Assisted Living Facility on December 20th 2010. When I arrived, she had fallen that morning and I had to wait for them to get her off the floor and ready to go. The plan was I was going to transport Judith to the County Elections Department in Doral and then take her back to her home. I had to help her in and out of the car (with help at elections - not from their staff) as she was paralyzed from the waist down. I also had to lug her wheelchair in and out of the trunk 4 times. Here is the most annoying part about the outing - remember I have nothing to do with this except my goal to help a woman whose vote was stolen from her - and in response to my advocacy, this is what the Elections Department wrote to me:
In the event this request extends past the estimated 15 minutes, then we will provide you with an invoice for actual labor expenses incurred in 15-minute increments.
This made me so angry. You would think they would care about a stolen vote at Elections and want to get to the bottom of it, and they would be happy that I went to so much trouble to get to the bottom of it.

Could Mrs. Thompson have forgotten that she received and returned the ballot? She said no numerous times. As a former County worker, she was sharp as a tack mentally. We compared the ballot envelope signature to a fresh signature sample done by Judith at Elections as well as to the signature on her State identification card. The signature on the absentee ballot envelope when compared with Mrs. Thompson's valid signature wasn't even close. There were three of us looking at the signatures. The envelope signature was very tight compared to her looser hand and the capital letters were written differently. I asked Elections how they verify absentee ballot signature, they said:

The signatures are verified electronically. If the signature on the certificate requires further review, then the certificate is reviewed manually. - Michelle G. McClain, Assistant Deputy Supervisor, Voter Services

It is interesting to note that when Miami Dade County Clerk Harvey Ruvin reviewed petition signatures he did them ALL manually and had a handwriting expert on hand. Maybe the Elections Department's program is not working as it allowed Mrs. Thompson to be disenfranchised by a forged signature. I got a few different stories about how signatures are verified at the Election's Department. I even called the software company that supplies Elections and they were very defensive. I asked them about statistics on accuracy, They never called  back. Joe Centorino at the State's Attorney's office (now head of County's Ethics), at my urging, instituted an investigation into Mrs. Thompson's lost vote.  He said it was difficult proving these cases. His biggest complaint was that there is no penalty for people from campaigns picking up absentee ballots from voters even though it is illegal. He needs to have a penalty to impose on the illegal activity in order to make arrests.

Watch Judith's body language in the video above. She is so defeated and upset because her vote was stolen. It was heartbreaking. Absentee ballot fraud is rampant in Miami Dade County and it is stealing close elections.  Everyone knows it...but no one will lift a finger to stop it. The Judith Thompson story is just one instance of a stolen vote.

Please read the other two parts of this series
Part 2 Absentee Ballot Fraud: My View. By Absentee Ballot Skeptic.
Part 3 - Absentee Ballot Fraud: How it is Done and How You Can Help.


Anonymous said...

Read all three this is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

How do the people get away with this?

I always thought it was more secure.

Geniusofdespair said...

It is because no one protests. Protest already!!! Call the Mayor. Tell him you want something done.

305-375-5071 - ask for Inson Kim

Anonymous said...

The following is contact information for the Mayor and Commissioners Suarez and Sosa:

Mayor Calos A Gimenez
Contact Info:
Email: mayor@miamidade.gov
Phone: 305-375-5071

Xavier L. Suarez, County Commissioner District 7 Contact info:
Downtown Office 305-375-5680
South Miami Office 305-669-4003
Frankie Rolle Chief of Staff, Office 305-694-3550
Emailo: District7@miamidade.gov

Rebeca Sosa, County Commissioner District 6
Contact Info:
Phone:305-375-5696 Fax: 305-372-6090
Email: district6@miamidade.gov
Roly Marante, Chief of Staff, email: roly@miamidade.gov

Anonymous said...

Tweeted this. 49 states, get ready in 2012. Who says you can't complain when Florida does not do it's job.

JaneMiami (twitter handle)

Tito said...

Best post ever on Eye on Miami. Good work GoD.

Judi K said...

Thanks, GoD, for taking the time to right this moral wrong. Keep on doing the right thing. That's why we love you and look forward to your point of view even if it differs from our own. Thanks again.

Youbetcha' said...

It is so overwhelming to that all the politicians and insiders KNOW that this is going on, they hire these brokers and there is no one left to prevent the corruption... Why is this happening?

Anonymous said...

There are 13 commissioners. How did you pick Suarez and Sosa? Granted, Suarez is familiar with ballot fraud. In the past, the anti-fraud crusader has been Pepe Diaz. You should get a commissioner who can pass legislation. Martinez would seem the best choice. Since he is my commissioner, I am calling Joe. Good job on the investigation.

Anonymous said...

Sad. Very sad.

Geniusofdespair said...

I picked Suarez because he was caught up in Humberto's voter fraud. The impact on his life was immeasurable. I think he would help and he told me he would.

I picked Rebeca because I think she would sponsor it.

Most of the others, I don't talk to but I do think some others would sponsor it.

Anonymous said...

This criminal activity is a divistating blow to the fundamentals of our democracy. Voting is the foundation of our system. To highjack elections with paid operatives, lax laws, and no oversight creates an undemocratic election process. This needs to be corrected on all levels so everyone's vote counts.

Absentee Ballot Skeptic said...

Here is the deal.

I believe that the fraud is so deep and ingrained in this community and probably the entire US voting system that it has to be addressed by massive legislative changes. I mean jail time and punitive action for the instigators.

The right to vote is among the most precious of US rights. We have sat here and let thugs systematically take our right to a untainted election.

I am angry that our seniors and disabled are targeted. Our alfs, senior centers and nursing home operators are abusing their sacred responsibility to care for our most vulnerable citizens.

It will never stop until we, as a collective community of people, decide that we will defend our right to vote. Why are we sitting on our rear-ends? Are we so complacent and busy with our lives that we can't see what is happening?

This is serious stuff. This fraud reaches across ethic and party lines. This is how governments fall. The corruptors are using us (you and I) to make a living and to put into place a government that is built on corruption.

Now, we face an election year and while we sit pondering, the vote brokers are already out in the communities, renewing the connections and building the trust that they need to steal our elections.

By the way, Judith Thompson is a gracious and brave lady. She is bright and certainly only disabled in her ability to move. Thank you, Ms. T.

Geniusofdespair said...

thank you ABS (absentee ballot skeptic)

Everyone of you should pass the links below to everyone you know. Let's start a movement!!!



Part 1 - Absentee Ballot Fraud: Vote Stolen from a Disabled Woman.


Part 2 - Absentee Ballot Fraud: My View.


Part 3 - Absentee Ballot Fraud: How it is Done and How You Can Help.


Anonymous said...

10 to 15 complaints out of 80,000 absentee ballets
That went out. Where's the fire Genius?
Ill bet if you care to look at early voting
And even election day voting, you'd Probably
Find a lot more people that were negated the opportunity
To vote too, because of some srew up, legal or illegal.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Where is Kathy Fernandez Rundle on this?

John said...

This is a powerful indictment of our absentee ballot system. You deserve a Pulitzer for this one! Incredible job!

Anonymous said...

Rundle probably uses vote brokers to win. Her office knows about AB fraud, or they are totally out to lunch.

Anonymous said...

I knew that lazy State Attorney's Office and "Let'em Go" Joe Centorino would do nothing on the absentee ballot scam.

Unbelievably, incompetent Joe Centorino is the new Director of the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission. We can now be sure that no one will ever be held accountable through that body.

Anonymous said...

GoD wrote, "It is because no one protests. Protest already!!! Call the Mayor. Tell him you want something done."

What part of "never" don't you understand? The people who have the power to put a stop to this only have that power because the avail themselves of this very fraud.

Your naivete would be adorable in a middle schooler. In an adult, it is just pitiable.

You cannot shame these people. You cannot "protest" them into reform. The only time their disregard of you is abated is when they give themselves over to their utter contempt for you.

You and your "vote" exist to provide them with a patina of legitimacy, so they can trade power and money.

So post your investigation. Write your letters. Make your demands. Your rulers, insofar as they notice at all, are amused.

Geniusofdespair said...

10 to 15 complaints? Do you think everyone is like Mrs. Thompson? Plenty just sit back and say "Oh, well." She in fact said there were others in her ALF that did not get ballots. They did not complain.

The people selling their votes for pastries and $20 are not going to complain. The people who hand over their ballot to a 'Helpful' campaign worker are not going to complain. They don't know anything is wrong.

Read Centorino's closeout memo. Listen to the tape by Julio Robaina in part 3.

You must work for elections. Bury your head in the sand but the rest of my readers are too savvy to think the problem is not larger. It is widespread.

Hell, Centorino -- who should know said:

"While the circumstances provide ample basis for suspicion of illegal or improper activity in connection with the handling of absentee ballots by someone associated with the Diaz-Balart campaign, any chance of proving a crime is remote."

...And is the person that didn't sign the ballot or the one I saw TRACED over at elections going to complain? Those are ballots that were counted.

Barbara said...

That video made me want to cry. And I could not believe what Julio Robaina said on that tape. I am glad he came forward.

What is wrong with this community? I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

This report made me so angry. I am angry at elections for not helping this woman. I am angry at campaigns for hushing this practice.

I am angry at myself for not doing anything.

Anonymous said...

If you are a legislator in Talli right now and you aren't screaming, you need to go. While I understand that Dade County is home rule charter and we appoint our own supervisor of elections, I am also a Floridian and expect protection FROM government corruption BY my elected officials STATE WIDE.

Furthermore, this is going to affect a national election. Get on board, 49 states. Florida needs to clean up her act county by county or we are going to mess with you too. Therefore, I also expect our Congressmen and Senators to check into this.

Anonymous said...

This corruption is older than Armando Guttierez.

Y said...

Elections Department Director Lester Sola will do nothing. He is not just a crony of Alvarez and Burgess. He is also an old buddy of Gimenez from the neighborhood. The whole county is a cesspool of corruption. I am sick and I want to throw up.

Anonymous said...

Very well done report. The county is not the best at self-investigation as we have seen on numerous occasions. The League of Women Voters or another neutral election observer would do a better job. Too bad we don't have newspaper that would find this interesting and useful.

But, very good work on your part. Kudos.

Victor said...

Great reporting. I hope that the commissioners agree to do something about the lack of violation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything Anon Ballot Skeptic said. Every word written could be mine. Corruption is engrained in the fabric of our entire community from the top down. Nothing is done in Miami Dade that can be tusted as being honest.

It is the job of we the voters to unite to clean it up. We are the keepers of our Constitution and the only ones that can do it. And the only way we can do it is by our collective votes! Those who say they are too busy to vote, or "they are all crooks" are the reason they get away with it. Please understand that the sitting officials do not want you to vote. They already have their supporters and interest groups to guarantee that they win. Your vote against them is not what they want and you fall right into their hands when you do not vote.

Laws must be tightened. I have read several and they are very loosely written. Only Talli can fix that. Reform must be written in our statutes and this must be done in time for 2012. If State reps do not want to do it, vote them out. When they appear at political events telling you how great they are, remember "Self-praise is no recommendation." The proof of the pudding is in the taste and we must view their actions in Talli as the taste. Put their feet to the fire when they come calling for help and hold it there, make them agree to reform the statues or, tell them up front, if they do not agree, you will not vote for them, And keep your promise. If they do not agree, do not forget it when you go to the polls and go to the polls you must.

The public gives up because they see nothing being done and that happens because the laws are not there to support arrests and convictions. We cannot and must not let that continue. We cannot and must not let our neglect to vote weaken the Constitution. Our vote keeps the Constitution strong and we have to use it to keep corruption from getting a foothold. There is an election coming up in Homestead and we must get in there and make sure Homestead votes NO CORRUPTION. Any candidate even loosely touching corruption should not even be considered . Do not give them permission to corrupt which will happen if you vote for them. Many on the ballot are not worth voting for, but there are at least three good, honest people running, Fairclough, Burgess and Losner. These I know for a fact are not corrupt. Whether you like them or not for any reason, one thing I can tell you they are all three honest and I will take "honest" over everything else. Waldman will do the right thing also. The others, use your own judgement but none of them will get my vote...NONE.

Please excuse errors. I am typing so fast that is bound to happen.

Anonymous said...

Never fear, the FL legislators fixed voter fraud by tweaking early voting hours. I spoke to Representative Jimmy Smith, who was beating his chest about "fixing voter fraud by changing early voting hours" about absentee fraud. He acted clueless that it was a problem. Maybe they don't want to do anything about it because they abuse the system.

Anonymous said...

What if we did away with local absentee ballots (military, college, people living abroad would still get them)? Now that we have early voting, people can make arrangements to go and vote.

Anonymous said...

Lester Sola should be arrested, shackled, and hogtied after depriving this poor woman of her voting rights.

We elected new county leadership in June. So why is the morally bankrupt elections dept director still there?

Anonymous said...

The legislature should never have removed the witness signature requirement. That was the reason they were able to get the convictions in the Humberto Hernandez absentee ballot scandal.

They also moved the location of the signature outside the envelope. It was on the closure previously.

Anonymous said...

Great investigative work! I'm an elected official and have heard many whispers about this type of fraud in my area. It's a travesty of democracy!

Geniusofdespair said...

Most of the fraud is with oldsters. So doing away with absentee will not do away it for them-- unable to get to polls. Elections should do as Robaina said-- go to some ALS's and help people fill out ballots or supervise the process. Elections knows when ballots arrive.

Geniusofdespair said...

This was a county commission race NOT a city race that Mrs. Thompson wanted to vote in.

Anonymous said...

How does crooked Lester Sola explain why Mrs. Thompson wasn't given a provisional ballot? And I don't believe there were only 10-15 complaints. Most of the complaints are made at the polls and those are not recorded anywhere. The elections department has a vested interest in saying they have few complaints. I don't believe anything they say.

Sola needs to be canned over this fiasco. He has been at elections as a political appointee since 2002 and he has done nothing to investigate abuse or publicize the problem to the elderly and disabled who are the targets of these vultures.

Anonymous said...

But the election in north Miami was filled with fraud. No one dared admit it.

Anonymous said...

That is the point. There is fraud everywhere in absentee ballots during elections.

Anonymous said...

I thought sola gave his resignation about a month ago.

Sola reports to whom? And who funds his department...

The same folks that hire the ballot brokers.

What's a guy to do?

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact, when I was working as a volunteer taking new voters registrations that there was some monkey business was going on.

This was at an event in homestead about 8 years ago. A
Man came to my booth and asked for 7 voter registration applications. I asked him why so many. He said that he ran a group home for Downs adults and that he always had the change parties so "they could vote" for the opposition's weakest candidate during the primary. Then he would change them back if they needed to.

He was bragging about it. He would not give me his name. I was powerless to do something about the abuse.

I even wonder if his clients had the mental capacity to understand what they were signing.

Anonymous said...

Refried beans... red it before, seen video before... come on Genius, lets get back to real issues...

Anonymous said...

Refried beans...you're an idiot.

Geniusofdespair said...

There is always one stick in the mud isn't there? You haven't seen the Judith Thompson video because It was posted privately until today. The audio of Julio was posted before, but it deserves a second airing in this context.

This happens to be my number one issue what I consider the most important issue for the county, for the State and for getting candidates to win...fairly.

If you have real issues...write your own blog -- upper right hand corner of this page is a link to develop a blog: It takes 15 minutes.

And you spell READ with an "A"

Anonymous said...

I bet that refried beans comment is from Sola. Who else would have an interest in looking away from this criminal activity?

Anonymous said...

No, the comment is from a political operative who wants us to stay far away from his livelihood. It is a diversion.

Dan McCrea said...

Just wanted to say what outstanding work this is. I posted it to a national listserv I’m a member of, full of elections officials, political scientists, computer scientists, attorneys and top elections advocates from around the country and several from overseas. Many are working on various aspects of AB voting, including securing it against its long history of high error rates, whether intentional or not. Your work will go places and stimulate thinking in places you’d never imagined – and for the good. Some have already responded.

Well done! And thank you. I’m sorry I can’t do more and that we may suffer this for multiple more cycles until change finds its way in to correct it. I see no way short of a big plan that does not depend on local or state government officials. We’ll see.

Please congratulate your colleagues from me. Great work.


Dan McCrea, President
Florida Voters Foundation

Anonymous said...

I know several political campaign insiders who applaud you and your team for the exceptional work which only scratches the surface of the games played. What happens on the streets of Miami-Dade during election season openly violates the principles upon which this country was founded. Candidates employ a win-at-all-costs mentality and the ballot brokers know authorities won't touch them. Not so sure you can count on the Mayor to clean this up as his campaign employed some of these "questionable characters" too.

Anonymous said...

Working on a much more local level in the Dist. 8 campaign of 2010, I know Flinn DID NOT use ballot brokers and he lost. And, that sucks. Now we are stuck with the hillbilly from Hudstead!

People wonder why there's such a low turn out? It's called disenfranchised and undemocratic!

Any tea party candidate who uses a "ballot broker" is not a real tea partier. Real US Constitutional politicians wouldn't use "gimmicks" to win an election or retain such scum! So, you tea party members, think about that the next time your candidate wins by AB as it happens all the time!

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you. This post is amazing.


Anonymous said...

G.O.D., you should have been much harder on Elections Supervisor Lester Sola. There is a considerable amount he can do to fight against this fraud administratively and he has done nothing for years!

Miami-Dade is the only county in Florida with an Elections Supervisor who is appointed, not elected. Sola serves at the pleasure of Mayor Gimenez who can fire him at will.

If people are calling the Mayor's Office to complain about absentee ballot fraud, they should also call for the dismissal of Lester Sola. Sola is a political hack who is friend of sleazy political operatives and an enemy to those of us who want integrity in our election system.

Absentee Ballot Skeptic said...

You know what, Gen?

About the invoice threat... We had already paid for that employee's time when we paid our taxes.

Were they gonna double dip into our wallets? Tsk! Tsk!

Let's keep digging. We want stories and leads. Email the Eye.

Geniusofdespair said...

The South Florida Daily Blog said:

Eye on Miami posts a 3-part series on absentee ballot fraud in Miami-Dade County and while it pretty much substantiates that it does happen, the big question that is not answered by the series is, "How often?

I answered:

How often:

It happens enough to swing elections. Lynda Bell for example won a county commission seat by 362 votes. On election day and early voting Flinn won by 303 votes. In absentee ballots Bell won by 658 votes...also winning the election.

Was there fraud on some of those absentee ballots I think so. Can I prove it: NO.

They will not let you look at signatures in the database at elections to compare them with the ballot envelopes (you are allowed to view the envelopes only -- and only if you pay money for a worker to hold them up for you, you can't touch them). I did go and view about 200 of these absentee ballot envelopes (the ballots are not in them) and I saw one with NO signature at all and some were traced. I saw a number with the same signature with a husband and a wife (one or both is not valid). Did someone steal their ballots or did a wife sign the envelope for a husband? I only looked at 200 of the 9,390 cast and I could have thrown out about 10 without comparing the signatures to the database. Imagine if I could have compared?

Anonymous said...

Congressional Election Being Stolen in Florida

By davidswanson - Posted on 28 October 2008

This is not the first time that Lincoln Diaz-Balart stole his congressional "victory" in Florida's 21st District.

In 2006, he "defeated" Democratic challenger Frank Gonzalez by roughly 20,000 votes, according to the e-voting machinery: a doubtful margin, since Gonzalez discovered 5,300 undervotes in Democratic areas--and, according to one news report, "a disproportionate number of absentee votes for Diaz-Balart in some precincts."

When, on Feb. 1, 2007, Gonzalez's campaign requested data on the absentee vote in that race, the county supervisor of elections, Bush appointee Lester Sola, just said no.

As the cliche has it, those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. So here
we are again repeating it, as Diaz-Balart is, once more, disappearing absentee votes
cast for Democrats.

(You'll find the facts about that last election in the paperback edition of Fooled Again,
p. 375.)

-Mark Crispin Miller

Anonymous said...

Re: "About the invoice threat... We had already paid for that employee's time when we paid our taxes. "

You are SO RIGHT. Our taxes also pay for the Supervisor of Elections and Secretary of State and Kathy Rundle. I don't think we are getting our money's worth.