State prosecutors filed ballot fraud charges on Monday against Sergio “el Tio” Robaina, who was arrested in early August.
Prosecutors — who had asked for more time to prepare the case — on Monday charged the 74-year-old Hialeah resident with two felony counts of tampering with ballots. He’s also charged with two counts of violating a new Miami-Dade County ordinance that prohibits individuals from keeping multiple ballots during an election cycle.
Robaina’s attorney, Thomas Cobitz, said he expects to file a motion to dismiss the case sometime next week, after the State Attorney’s Office files its discovery. He said he considers the county ordinance unconstitutional because neighboring counties now have different rules governing absentee ballots, even when legislative districts may straddle multiple counties.
“What’s acceptable in Century Village is prohibited in Hialeah,” he said.
Robaina collected dozens of absentee ballots in the weeks before the Aug. 14 elections and handed them to Anamary Pedrosa, an aide at the time to county commissioner Esteban Bovo. Pedrosa, who has not been charged with a crime, dropped off a total of 164 ballots at a post office in Northwest Miami-Dade.
The voters who gave Robaina their ballots included a woman with dementia and her adult son, who told police that Robaina pressured them to vote for candidates of his choosing.
In September, Robaina told El Nuevo Herald that he never pressured voters and that he was unaware of the county ordinance.
His next hearing is on Oct. 31.