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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Determined 102-yr-old Fla voter to join Michelle Obama at SOTU



desiline-victor.jpgDesiline Victor, a 102-year-old former farm worker who waited more than three hours to cast he vote in Miami-Dade last November, will join First Lady Michelle Obama in the U.S. House chamber tonight to watch the president's State of the Union address.

From a release from The Advancement Project, a civil rights group:

Fixing the problems in the nation’s voting system, which contributed to outrageously long lines and wait times of more than six hours, will be among the themes of the president’s speech. 

Born in Haiti in 1910, Victor is a naturalized citizen and retired farmworker who set out to take advantage of Florida’s early voting period last October. When she arrived at her polling place, a local library, on the morning of October 28, wait times were already up to six hours. Determined to cast her ballot, Victor stood in line for three hours until citizen advocates complained that the elderly woman struggled on her feet. 

A poll worker asked her to come back later that day, assuring her that she would not have to wait then. On Victor’s second visit that evening, she was finally able to vote – and emerged from the building to wild cheers and applause from the crowd of waiting voters. 

Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of Advancement Project, a civil rights group that met Victor while doing voter protection advocacy work, and brought her to Washington this week, pointed out that tens of thousands of other Americans did not get to vote, after facing similar problems at the polls. “Citizens who take responsibility to carry out their civic duty are still not guaranteed their right to vote in this country,” said Browne Dianis. “And while Ms. Victor’s determination to make her voice heard was heroic, she should never have had to wait in line for more than three hours to do it. These problems could be fixed with federal voting standards, including early voting and modernized registration, to ensure that elections are free, fair and accessible. Currently we have 123,000 different jurisdictions who run elections 13,000 different ways”.


[Last modified: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:51am]


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