5 felons, dead woman voted in 2011 Dania Beach municipal election

Woman who turned in absentee ballots worked as campaign manager for 2 candidates

Published On: Oct 03 2012 02:44:50 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 03 2012 11:00:00 PM EDT
DANIA BEACH, Fla. -

Local 10 has learned five convicted felons and a dead woman voted in the 2011 Dania Beach municipal election, and their absentee ballots were turned into the Broward Supervisor of Elections' office by one woman who had a vested interest in the outcome of the election.

Records show Lisa Duke signed her name on a log as the person who turned in those six absentee ballots, along with about 400 others.

At the time, Duke was working as the campaign manager for both her husband Walter, who is a Dania Beach City Commissioner, and another a candidate on the ballot.

Duke refused to talk to Local 10's Jeff Weinsier on camera about the absentee ballots, but off camera, she said she received them from volunteers.

Miami-Dade County has an ordinance that makes it a crime to possess more than two absentee ballots. Broward does not.

"How is the Supervisor's office allowing it to happen? This is a recipe for disaster. It is a recipe for fraud," said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, an attorney who specializes in voter rights and served as the chair of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition.

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, one of the convicted felons who voted in the election told detectives his signature on the absentee ballot was forged. Another told detectives he is legally blind and that someone else requested his ballot and filled it out for him, but he doesn't remember who it was. A third convict doesn't even live in Broward County.

Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said no questions are asked when someone walks into her office with absentee ballots -- no matter how many they have.

"I guess I'm making an assumption that if a person walks in with ballots, which is not illegal to do, I'm assuming the person gave the person the ballot," said Snipes.

"How are they not questioning someone walking in bringing in 400, 300, 200 ballots?," said Rodriguez-Taseff. "How are they not saying, 'Who are you working with? Give me details? Where did you get these and how did you get these? How is it that people are turning them into you?"

Broward Mayor John Rodstrom is just as disturbed.

"These absentee ballots are really loosely handled and there is no quality control," said Rodstrom.

Rodstrom said too many hands are on the absentee ballots and that the Broward County Commission can do nothing about how they are handled because Snipes is an elected official.

Whoever signs the drop off log in the Broward Supervisor of Elections' office is not swearing that the ballots being turned in are from registered, legal voters -- instead, only saying who turned in those absentee ballots.

Snipes said she started the log to keep track of who was turning in absentee ballots.

"I have not spoken to Lisa Duke," said Snipes.

The Broward Sheriff's Office investigated, but concentrated on the five convicts who voted, not on Duke. In fact, no one has investigated who Duke received all the absentee ballots from.

So what's next?

"I will probably have to change the process. I will probably start working on this today," said Snipes.

But sources said Snipes has know about this for over a year and has done nothing.

"We already have a process in place. I'm sort of leaning on that process to work," said Snipes.

But some voters living in Dania Beach said Snipes has been leaning too long and needs to take a stand with a presidential election a month away.