"The one that was driving was dressed more or less (well)," recounted the woman. "She said she was a candidate's mother. The other (the politiquera) was dressed more or less like me. It looked like she cleaned houses."
|[TAPE 1- click here]|
"No wonder, I told her, she was making the effort (to get her daughter elected). But what you are doing is not fair. It's getting to be like the PRI (in Mexico) who tell you where (to vote), but they gave me the (ballot) sheet and I told them I wanted to vote for Yolanda. She (Norma) said 'Bueno Ud haga como Ud. quiera, pero nada mas llene estas bolitas (shown on the marked sample ballot) Well, you do what you want, just fill in these ovals (shown on the pre-marked sample ballot for Erin, her daughter).'
[TAPE 2- click here]
What happened with these women has been repeated throughout the length of the week-long early voting period, often right under the noses of and abetted by elections department director Roger Ortiz and his personnel who allowed the ballots to be handed to the politiqueros and politiqueras including Norma Hernandez herself who then was allowed to coach the captive elderly voters to fill in the ovals of the candidates they were supporting.
In no case were the politiqueros or politiqueras challenegd by elections personnel and asked whether the elderly in the vans could walk to the polling booths themselves.
|[TAPE 3-click here]|
"They promised us a plate about three times and told us it was being prepared, but it never appeared. I told them it wasn't important to me." she said.
Some witnesses say some of the adult day care residents were mentally disabled who could not fill in the ballots and the politiqueros and politiqueras assisted them to fill in the ovals, casting votes for the candidates who they were supporting.
"Some of those poor people didn't even know who was running," said an observer who works in a legal office across the street. "Why was this allowed to happen?"