“I don’t know why she would say I took the ballots to the office. I’ve never taken ballots to a government office,” said Robaina, adding that he doesn’t want to see Pedrosa in legal trouble.
Robaina said most of the individuals from whom he collected ballots voted for Oliva, Díaz, and González. He said he did not pressure anybody into voting for a candidate.
El Nuevo Herald obtained county email records that show how Pedrosa helped coordinate at least one campaign visit for Diaz during work hours.
At 3:55 p.m. on June 29, Pedrosa sent an email to her personal account from her work account that included as an attachment a form in which Díaz sought permission from the Hialeah Housing Authority (HHA) to visit a 100-unit public housing building.
On the day of the visit, July 5, Pedrosa sent an email from her work account to HHA special projects coordinator Yosselin Oliva asking for “confirmation for today.”
Oliva replied affirmatively. Minutes later, Pedrosa assured that the 2:30 p.m. time was accurate and even asked how many residents there were.
HHA director Julio Ponce said Oliva is not related to the state representative.
Pedrosa gave her week’s notice to Bovo’s office on July 23. Bovo has said he knew nothing of Pedrosa’s activities related to absentee ballots.
On Thursday, Robaina assured that he’s innocent of the accusations that he’d tampered with the ballots of a woman with dementia and her son. According to the arrest form, Gustavo Martínez told authorities that Robaina pressured him into voting for candidates of his choosing and filled out his mother’s ballot.
However, Robaina said both Gustavo and his mother filled out their own ballots with the candidates they wanted.
“I’m at peace with my conscious and with God,” he said.
Robaina is also accused of violating a county ordinance that prohibits individuals from collecting more than two ballots during an election. On Thursday, he said he didn’t even know the ordinance existed.
He also spoke proudly of his work as a poll inspector since 2008 for the county’s election department. El Nuevo Herald reported two weeks ago that Robaina had worked the polls even during elections when his nephew, former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, was a candidate.
Sergio Robaina dismissed the suggestion that he may have used his position as a poll inspector to lobby for candidates or tamper with ballots.
“All I did was verify the addresses and identities of voters,” he said. “I sat there like a mummy.”