More than nine months after the electoral fraud scandal in Hialeah, several voters who relied on Deisy Pentón de Cabrera’s help criticized the politicians who hired her to collect absentee ballots for not supporting her.
Loida Gómez, 70, who waited for Cabrera’s visit in her apartment in July to help her fill out her ballot for the August primary, was among those voters.
Cabrera, who was arrested days after Gómez’s absentee ballot arrived in the mail, never showed up. And Gómez decided not to vote.
“With all her stumbling I never mailed the ballot. I no longer wanted to,” Gómez said. “It’s not fair that the politicians, the same ones who were paying her, have turned their backs on her. They paid her to campaign for them.”
Gómez’s name and those of more than 550 voters appear in three notebooks that authorities seized from Cabrera when she was initially arrested. The notebooks have been presented as evidence in the criminal case against Cabrera, who is charged with forging the signature of one elderly voter who was staying in a hospice and suffering from a brain tumor.
Cabrera, 57, has said through her lawyer that she will not comment. She has pleaded not guilty.
According to her own notes and the testimony of several voters, Cabrera has for years made rounds in Hialeah to visit Hispanic elderly voters in every electoral cycle.
Weeks before her arrest, Cabrera visited voters whose information she wrote down on a list titled “Ab Ballots 2012 Requested by phone.” At that time she was proselytizing for the August primaries in favor of the campaigns of county mayor Carlos Gimenez and state representatives Manny Díaz Jr., Eddy González and José Oliva.
However, in recent years Cabrera only appeared as a worker in one campaign. In 2011, Rudy García made a payment of $100 to Cabrera for helping in his campaign for Hialeah mayor.
“Nobody does anything for free,” said a voter who asked not to be identified but who received help from Cabrera for years. “It infuriates me that the politicians have not shown their faces. Deisy is a great person who fought for her children.”
The 88-year-old voter lives in a Hialeah Housing Authority apartment building for low-income elderly. Cabrera had written in her notebooks the information of 12 residents of that building. The notebooks indicate that Cabrera reviewed several Hialeah public housing buildings, writing lists with every apartment number and making notes of whether the resident had voted for a candidate.
Cabrera also depends on government housing help. In 2009, Miami-Dade County approved her federal subsidy for the Section 8 housing program. She has reported since 2009 that she does not work nor earn an income.