The voter fraud case in Hialeah expanded Friday to include the uncle of former Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina.
Sergio Robaina, 74, turned himself into authorities Friday afternoon. He has been charged with two felony counts of voter fraud and two misdemeanor counts of violating a county ordinance that prohibits having more than two absentee ballots.
He is accused of filling out absentee ballots for a woman and her son.
The investigation originated with the U.S. Postal Service, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.
“Postal Service finds 160 some odd ballots arrived overnight, they call the Elections Department, the Elections Department calls the police and our prosecutors,” she said.
Robaina is being held on $12,000 bond, according to online Miami-Dade Corrections records. It was not immediately known whether he has an attorney.
Robaina’s arrest follows the arrest last week of Deisy Penton de Cabrera, 56, who is also charged with illegally collecting absentee ballots.
The absentee ballots in the Robaina case were dropped off at a post office by Anamary Pedrosa, who ran the Hialeah office of Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo Jr., according to The Miami Herald.
Bovo said Friday that none of his county employees were authorized or instructed to work on local campaigns in this election.
“I am deeply disturbed that my name, or that of my office, is being mentioned in the same breath of an absentee ballot investigation,” he said in a statement.
Bovo said that he has voted to tighten Miami-Dade’s absentee voter laws, and said that no one on his staff used his County Commission office for campaign purposes.
He said of his former employee, “Ms. Pedrosa's situation and actions are an isolated event by one individual, and I expect her to cooperate fully with the investigation. I sincerely hope that no laws were violated by her actions.”
Fernandez Rundle said people who are voting absentee need to pay attention to their own ballots.
“If you are a voter out there and you still have your absentee ballot, just be smart about it, don't give it away, don't let anybody force you, say they're helping you, threaten you, don't let anybody else fill it out – you do it,” she said.