Three days after the North Miami election, at least two mayoral candidates are calling into question the results, saying Miami-Dade’s Elections Department can’t account for some seven hundred absentee ballots that were cast. But the elections department said that was not true. All ballots have been counted, and the candidates are mistaken because of a clerical error, a spokesperson said. According to unofficial results, including absentee ballots and all precincts reporting, the mayoral race and two council seats are headed to a runoff between the top two vote-getters because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote to win outright. At a press conference Friday afternoon, Dr. Smith Joseph, who came in third place in the mayoral race, called into question the numbers provided to him by the elections department on May 6.
He said he requested a count for all absentee ballots that had been returned as of that date. The elections department provided him with a report that read “absentee ballots cast” with a tally of 2,566 ballots. But on election day, May 14, the elections department reported a total of 1,834 ballots that were counted — 732 ballots fewer than what Joseph had in the report.
“This is a huge discrepancy that we cannot ignore,” Joseph said at a press conference on Friday to denounce what he called an infringement of voters’ civil rights.
The elections department said that the information they provided to Joseph was incorrect — that the 2,566 number was actually the number of absentee ballots that were requested but had not yet been returned to the department.