Businesses, Hotels, Mail Drop Addresses Used to Register to Vote

In just a one-block stretch of Brickell Avenue, in the heart of the city’s financial district, 16 people have registered to vote using business addresses.

A few blocks north, 11 people are registered to vote out of tiny mailboxes in a DHL mail office at 444 Brickell.

And at the Marriott Hotel in Dadeland, seven people are registered to vote out of hotel rooms where they do not live – or even currently stay.

Those are just some of more than 100 Miami-Dade County voter registrations the NBC 6 Investigators connected to commercial – and not residential – addresses.

This comes as the state attorney’s office continues investigating whether any laws were broken when 22 voters were found to have registered to vote in Doral by using the commercial property addresses.

But while the law does require one to register using his residential address, former federal prosecutor David Weinstein says that does not mean a prosecutor would seek to criminally prosecute someone who happens to use a business or temporary address.

“You’re entitled to be a little bit careless when you do anything,” said Weinstein, now a defense attorney. “But in order for it to then become criminal, you have to have the criminal intent in your mind to have intentionally, knowingly, willfully committed this crime.”

There’s no evidence the few voters registered at the Doral office complex were conspiring to affect the latest mayoral election, which was won by JC Bermudez with 67 percent of the vote – 2,343 more than his opponent, Luigi Boria.

And the NBC 6 Investigators’ findings, Weinstein said, also do not point to any kind of criminal activity.

“One hundred, 102 names -- that doesn’t strike me as a large scale conspiracy to potentially alter a particular election,” Weinstein said. Especially when there are nearly 1.4 million registered voters in the county.

The NBC 6 Investigators found the discrepancies by obtaining and comparing two databases: one containing the addresses provided by every voter in Miami-Dade; the other, the addresses and zoning for more than half a million parcels in the county. When the two were compared, more than 100 addresses tied to commercial properties were found to be used by voters.

Where a voter lives can determine whom they can vote for, when based on congressional or commission district lines, or city limits.

Among the voters we found using a business address was the owner of Prana Yoga in Coral Gables.

“I’ve been here for almost 20 years and my business address stays the same and sometimes my residence moves,” said Dona Piza, noting her home is just a few blocks from the business.

But, informed by a reporter that could be a problem, she said she probably would change her address now to her current home.

“I think it’s very important to make sure everything’s on the up and up,” she said.

But to those who would cite a few incorrect addresses to allege voting frauds or conspiracy, the yoga instructor offers a few words of wisdom.

“Take a deep breath,” Piza said. “Relax.”

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