Issues with mail-in ballots prompt delay in Special Election results

Government By Linda Trischitta and Alexandra Herrera Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Eight mail-in ballots that need to be “cured” because they lack information will delay results in the Miami Lakes’ Special Election held on April 9.

The Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections will contact the voters with the problem ballots, who have until 5 p.m. Thursday to resolve the issues.

The Canvassing Board – Miami Lakes Town Clerk and Supervisor of Elections Gina Inguanzo; Mayor Manny Cid and 11th Circuit Judge Eleane Sosa-Bruzon – witnessed Tuesday night’s tally at the Miami-Dade County Suprevisor of Elections offices in Doral.

They will reconvene Friday morning at 9 a.m. and may certify the preliminary results, order ballots printed for a run-off because no candidate won more than 50% of the votes, or order a recount because margins were slim.

Preliminary results reported by the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections Tuesday night showed Bryan Morera winning the most votes,  618 or 29.41% of ballots cast; Esther Colon came in second with 476 votes or 22.66%; Hector Abad got 469 votes and 22.32%; Nelson Rodriguez had 404 votes and 19.23% and John Rogger came in fifth place, winning 134 votes and 6.38%.

Once the mail-in ballot issues are resolved, a run-off may be held between the top two vote winners on April 30.   

The five residents sought to replace former Vice Mayor Carlos Alvarez, who cited personal and career demands as reasons for resigning from the dais in November, during the middle of a council meeting and leaving his term unfulfilled. The council did not replace him with Mayor Manny Cid’s nominee, which prompted the special election.
Just 2,101 registered voters or 10.52% participated in the election on Tuesday, the county reported.

The results are unofficial and were originally scheduled to be certified on April 12. Whoever wins the run-off election will serve until November, 2026.

Several candidates said while campaigning Tuesday that if they didn’t win on April 9, they may continue to seek a council seat in November, when offices currently held by Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano, Councilman Luis Collazo and Mayor Manny Cid will be open because of term limits. Vice Mayor Tony Fernandez is in the middle of his first term, and Councilman Josh Dieguez is in the middle of his second term and both are running for mayor in the fall.  Three candidates in the General Election - Steven Herzberg, Mario Pinera and Juan Carlos Fernandez - are seeking council seats.

Though turnout Tuesday was low, voter Bill Perez, a former candidate for the council, said it was up to the voters to decide who will represent them.

 “This is a lot better process than having a committee of seven or a committee of four [council members] decide who the next council person should be,” Perez said, referring to Cid’s failed attempt to get his candidate appointed to replace Alvarez. “… I think that’s the way democracy should work.”