Democrats like to claim that concern over ballot fraud is just paranoid conspiracy-theory rubbish. It might be a little more difficult to make that case after Miami-Dade investigators busted a ring of Democrats for attempting to push hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests in the 2012 election — a ring that reached the inner circle of at least one Democratic Congressman, and perhaps two:
Congressman Joe Garcia’s chief of staff abruptly resigned Friday after being implicated in a sophisticated scheme to manipulate last year’s primary elections by submitting hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests.
Friday afternoon, Garcia said he had asked Jeffrey Garcia, no relation, for his resignation after the chief of staff — also the congressman’s top political strategist — took responsibility for the plot. Hours earlier, law enforcement investigators raided the homes of another of Joe Garcia’s employees and a former campaign aide in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into the matter.
Garcia didn’t just work to defeat Rivera, who had ethics issues that made his re-election dicey at best. He also worked to defeat Allen West, who lost by less than 2,000 votes and who complained about voter fraud at the time:
Jeffrey Garcia, 40, declined to comment. He also worked last year on the campaign of Democrat Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, who unseated tea-party Republican congressman Allen West. Murphy has not been implicated in the phantom-requests operation.
The Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, seeking electronic equipment such as computers, served search warrants Friday at the homes of Giancarlo Sopo, 30, Joe Garcia’s communications director; and John Estes, 26, his 2012 campaign manager. Neither Estes nor Sopo responded to requests for comment.
So far, the investigators claimed that the efforts failed up front, with applications flagged as suspicious. Those, of course, are the applications they caught. It seems at least questionable that people this determined to cheat would have stopped at one strategy to do so, and ceased after being thwarted only once. The continuing searches might end up finding that these Florida Democrats found success elsewhere.