The two districts had a common fraternal tie: Miami-Dade School Board member Renier Díaz de la Portilla was running against Díaz, and his brother, former state Sen. Alex Díaz de la Portilla, was running in 112.
Both brothers have denied involvement in any fraud and so has Alex Díaz de la Portilla’s opponent, former state Rep. Gus Barreiro.
Professor Smith noted that the fraudsters appeared to coordinate their requests in the two House races, switching back and forth between requesting batches of absentee ballots. There was no overlap in the timing of the requests.
“Someone was either trying to help or hurt the Díaz de la Portillas,” Smith concluded.
Smith’s analysis also showed the Republican voters in the House districts were higher-propensity voters than the Democratic voters targeted in the congressional race of Garcia.
Ultimately, only 18 percent of the Democrats cast ballots during that election and the voters were relatively young. But about 38 percent of the Republicans in the House races cast ballots during that election. These voters were relatively elderly.
Smith said the fraud in the Republican races made more sense because higher-propensity voters are a good bet to spend time targeting. The low-frequency voters in the Democratic race were more of a waste of time — unless the fraudsters were simply trying to expand the pool of typical voters.
In the Republican races, the ballots were requested by computers that used foreign IP addresses, making it all but impossible for Miami-Dade prosecutors to track them down. The IP addresses were registered in India and the United Kingdom, and investigators stopped examining the case in August.
But in Garcia’s Democratic primary, they used local computers.
After a Miami Herald story in February revealed that no attempt had been made to trace the local computers, investigators reopened the case.
On May 31, they raided three locations associated with Joe Garcia’s spokesman, Sopo, and John Estes, his former campaign manager. Investigators seized computers.
Later the same day, Joe Garcia fired Jeffrey Garcia.
“I didn’t know any of this was happening and when I found out, I fixed it,” Joe Garcia said. “But there are serious problems with absentee ballots in our election system, and that should be fixed, too.”