First lady hosts 102-year-old determined voter
Her determination, despite the physical strain, inspired others to remain and endure up to six-hour waits.
"She just wants everyone to know she wants everyone to vote," said Victor's nephew, Mathieu Pierre-Louis, who translated her words from Creole. Her vote, she said through her nephew, is special. She said she loves Obama and will tell him so if she gets the chance.
As he was leaving the House chamber Tuesday after his speech, Obama raised the issue of voting delays with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., an icon from the civil rights era.
"Nobody should have to wait seven hours. You already fought that fight," the president told Lewis, who turns 73 next week.
A farmworker from Haiti, Victor was born in 1910. She arrived in the U.S. in 1989 and was naturalized in 2005. She first voted in the 2008 presidential election and cast her ballot for Obama.
A slew of states, including Victor's home state of Florida, implemented new voting restrictions in the two years after Obama's historic first election, in which black and Hispanic turnout reached record highs. The laws reduced early voting days, instituted rules requiring voters to show accepted forms of photo identification and curtailed some voter registration activities.
Obama again enjoyed overwhelming support from minority voters in his victory over GOP rival Mitt Romney last year.
Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, a group that advocates for civil rights, said Victor's story underscores the need to fix the voting system to ensure, among other things, that it accommodates elderly voters.
"It's clear Ms. Victor's story is a story that shows the tenacity of a voter to overcome barriers," Dianis said. "Unfortunately there were dozens who didn't get to vote because of problems."
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