Charges of absentee-ballot fraud at assisted-living facilities and nursing homes are at the center of Rep. John Patrick Julien’s legal challenge to the results of the District 107 primary race for the Florida House. Julien, D-North Miami, who lost a razor-thin Democratic primary to Miami Gardens Rep. Barbara Watson last month, filed a court complaint Tuesday challenging the results of the race. After a recount, Watson won with 50.06 percent of the vote — a 13-vote edge. The court complaint, filed in Leon County, alleges that several absentee ballots tied to a North Miami nursing home may have been cast fraudulently. It highlights a political consultant who advertised herself as “The Queen of Absentee Ballots” and a woman who appeared on Haitian Creole radio, warning absentee voters to consult with “teacher Carline” before filling out their ballots. “We have meticulously researched the facts in this case and have very good evidence that the fraud in the District 107 is concentrated in ALFs and nursing homes,” said Juan-Carlos Planas, an attorney for Julien and a former Republican legislator.
The 15-page court complaint points out that Julien had more votes on Election Day, but lost the absentee-ballot vote, often in precincts where he won non-absentee votes by large margins. Sixteen absentee ballots came from Claridge House, a North Miami nursing home implicated in the complaint. “Upon information and belief, many of the resident voters of the respective medical facilities in precincts 123 and 130 did not actually cast their own absentee ballots and/or had their right to vote stolen from them through fraud and deceit,” Planas wrote in the complaint.