Riquenes, a registered Republican, voted for the candidates she thought could make improvements to the community. But it wasn’t only politics that brought the stay-at-home mom to the polls.
She also came to cast her vote for lifting Miami-Dade’s 23-year-old ban on pit bulls.
“Dogs are like kids: if you teach them to fight they will fight,” said Riquenes, 45, who owns a one and a-half-year-old pit bull mix named Daisy. “She is very playful and isn’t aggressive.”
Miami-Dade passed the ban in 1989 after a rash of attacks around the country, including one on a Kendall-area girl’s face.
Critics say the law has not helped: some 400 pit bulls entered the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department last year. Many of them were strays. The county commission voted recently to lift the ban, and now it’s up to voters to decide.
Hialeah voter Daniel Llanes, 21, voted to lift the ban on pit bulls, saying that he doesn’t agree with the fact that his Brazilian Mastiff, Apollo, is allowed in Miami-Dade County but pit bulls are not.
"It’s known that [Brazilian Mastiff’s] are a more aggressive breed," Llanes said. "People think pit bulls are violent and that’s not the case."
Llanes said many of his friends currently own pit bulls and bypass the laws by lying about the dog’s breed.
Al Brandys, a 64-year-old postal worker in Miami Shores, voted no on the pit bull repeal. He compares the dogs to animals like pythons and boas.
"People don’t need to have none of that s--t for pets," he said.
- Paradise Afshar and Daniel Ducassi
Election “labor of love,” - Brickell
At the Stanley Axelrod UTD Towers in Brickell, campaign volunteers outnumbered voters nearly 10 to 1 this morning.
The volunteers included Zoraida Barreiro, who implored voters to cast their ballots for her husband, incumbent Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro. Zoraida Barreiro said she had gotten positive feedback throughout the morning. "So far, so good," she said. "It’s hard to tell from the precincts."
Zoraida Barreiro is no stranger to election-day campaigning. She said she’s been hitting the poll since before Bruno Barreiro proposed.
"It’s a labor of love," she said.
Campaign volunteers aside, the Brickell independent living complex was quiet mid-morning Tuesday. Poll workers said the flow of voters had been heavier earlier in the morning, and with a lunchtime surge.
-- KATHLEEN McGRORY
Commission chair Martinez shuns mail-in ballot, 11 AM
Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Joe Martinez, who is running for county mayor, voted with his wife, Ana, at 11 a.m. at John A. Ferguson Senior High School in West Kendall, where a big crowd of volunteers swarmed voters as they walked into the precinct.
An unidentified voter said she wouldn’t consider voting for Mayor Carlos Gimenez. "My husband’s a county employee."
In the sweltering heat, Ana Martinez had to wear a jean jacket over her campaign T-shirt, which is not allowed inside the polling place.
Joe Martinez, who spoke to reporters before voting, predicted there would not be a runoff in the mayoral race.
"I think this ends today," he said.
He and his wife brought in their absentee ballots to cancel them and vote in person instead. They usually vote by mail, he said, but no longer want to do so following an ongoing absentee-ballot fraud investigation.