County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa said she is set to present a resolution intended to once again restrict absentee voting in Miami-Dade County.
In an open letter to the Miami Herald Wednesday, the Commissioner, who represents areas of Hialeah, West Miami, and Coral Gables, pledged to make the right to vote absentee once again a "privilege" restricted to "voters with a significant challenge in accessing a polling station" such as members of the military or regular travelers.
The absentee ballot restriction issue has not seen any substantive movement in county politics since the Florida Legislature allowed for the expansion of absentee voting to all residents in 1997.
“In the past we had it, and the conditions were people who were sick, people who had a doctor’s certificate, people who had problems with mobility, people who were physically disabled, people who had to travel, those were the people that were qualified to become electors in that way,” Sosa told NBC 6 last week.
Her move to repeal open absentee voting comes on the heels of accusations of voter fraud during the recent August primary election, which saw the reelection of incumbent Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Alleged incidents of voter fraud occurred in Hialeah, where "boleteros", or ballot pushers, are regularly organized by campaigns and paid upward of $5,000 to wrangle votes -- usually from the elderly or ill, and usually cast for the campaign footing the bill.
Gimenez's opponent Joe Martinez contends in a lawsuit that at least some of the 80,000 absentee ballots cast in the August elections were fraudulent, thereby spoiling the lot for him and the overall election results. The woman at the center of the investigation, 56-year-old Deisy Cabrera, was charged with forging a woman's signature and possessing more than two absentee ballots after she was tailed collecting ballots around Hialeah and dropping them off at the post office.
Sosa, who previously and successfully lobbied for harsher punishments for voter fraud, said she will present the resolution at a commission meeting next week.
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