Boleteros: All you need to know about this shady staple of Miami politics

WHAT ARE THEY? They’re also known as ballot brokers. They’re both influential and lesser-known members of South Florida communities (particularly bilingual communities) who are paid to use their sway to get extra absentee mail-in ballot votes for political candidates.

HOW DO THEY DO IT? There’s all kinds of examples that go from super shady and weird (using the addresses of dead voters to cast votes for a candidate) to more straightforward: having a boletero go into a retirement home, where most residents only speak Creole or Spanish, and convincing them to cast votes for a candidate even if they don’t know much about the election or the person.

HOW DOES THIS STILL HAPPEN? It takes a lot of effort to charge these folks and often they’re only caught if they possess a lot of ballots illegally, forge someone’s signature or if there’s a key witness to the illegal behavior. Even then, the cases can take years to prosecute. And even when there are penalties like jail time, the stints are typically short or reduced to probation and the boleteros—or the politicians—can bounce back.

USAGE: “Yeah we knew they were using boleteros, but we couldn’t prove it.”

We’ll be rolling out more entries in the Miamipedia but we know there’s stuff we haven’t thought about. Hit reply and let us know or hit us up at [email protected] to tell us any other suuuper Miami terms, phrases and people we should include. Until then, you can check out the previous installments here.