As allegations of tinkering with minorities’ absentee ballots in the Delray Beach/Boynton Beach area are getting a look from authorities, similar accusations have been leveled against Florida State Rep. Bobby Powell Jr. in the central part of Palm Beach County.
The usually squeaky-clean Powell, who’s running for the state senate in a district that includes his hometown of Riviera Beach as well as black-dominated parts of West Palm Beach and Lake Park, is facing allegations of using “ballot brokers,” people going door-to-door to get high numbers of voters to send out requests for absentee ballots.
The Miami-born practice is often conducted in minority neighborhoods to increase the number of absentee minority voters then attempt to influence them into voting for certain minority candidate.
The practice has been deemed illegal because the “brokers” often fill out the ballot on behalf of the voters.
This week, county authorities and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched an investigation into whether Palm Beach County Commission hopeful Mack Bernard is behind a high number of last-minute minority absentee ballot requests from Boynton Beach and Delray Beach.
The latest allegation against Powell, meanwhile, were brought yesterday by lawyer Michael Steinger, a Democrat taking on Powell in the upcoming primaries.
Steinger wrote State Attorney Dave Aronberg to ask for the Bernard probe to be extended to include his friend Powell Jr.
In his letter. Steinger says 3,062 absentee ballots were requested by blacks in the district, nearly twice those requested by whites.
We reached out to Powell Jr. for comment but he has yet to return the call.