By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com September 10 2002 12:00 AM ET
Leaders of the group seeking to repeal Miami-Dade County's gay rights amendment leveled allegations Friday that county elections officials, under orders from Miami-Dade County mayor Alex Penelas, are planning a "massive elections fraud" to undermine the repeal at the polls, according to The Miami Herald.
"It is my solemn civic duty and right to alert the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. attorney general, John Ashcroft, and the FBI to the massive elections fraud with respect to the repeal referendum," said Eladio José Armesto, spokesman for the pro-repeal group Take Back Miami-Dade.
Specifically, Armesto accuses Penelas and county elections supervisor David Leahy of "rigging the computerized voting machine in order to undercount votes for the repeal of the sexual orientation amendment."
Penelas called Armesto's remarks "crazy allegations" and said he welcomes scrutiny of Miami-Dade's elections procedures by federal officials, including Ashcroft. "This is just one more indication that you have a campaign run by extremists based on demagoguery and fear," Penelas said. "When you're losing in the polls by 30 points and need to get free media, you hold a last-minute press conference and try to discredit your opponents. They're going to lose, and they're going to lose big."