March 12, 2005
Orlando Mayor and Three Others Indicted For Improper Payments to Collect Absentee Ballots
Orlando (FL) Mayor Buddy Dyer, Circuit Judge Alan Apte, and two campaign workers were indicted by a grand jury in Florida for "providing pecuniary gain for absentee ballot possession or collection" in violation of a state law prohibiting such conduct (indictment here). The indictment alleges that Dyer and Apte paid campaign workers to pick up absentee ballots and have them delivered to be counted during the 2004 election. Allegations of fraud in the 2004 mayoral race surfaced, and Dyer avoided a run-off election by only 234 votes. His main opponent in that election claims that there was widespread fraud related to the collection of absentee ballots from neighborhoods that favored Dyer and Apte. Florida Governor Jeb Bush suspended Dyer from office after the indictment, and a special election will be held. Dyer and Apte have claimed that the charges are politically motived because the special prosecutor bringing the charges against them is a Republican and they are Democrats.
A disputed election in Florida -- that's novel, isn't it? An Orlando Sentinel story here discusses the charges.
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