MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Her persistence and determination earned an Miami centenarian a prestigious spot for Tuesday’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama.
Miami’s Desiline Victor, 102, will be sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama.
In October Victor went to the polls on the first Sunday of early voting in Florida. That day, she had to make two visits to her voting precinct, and waited three hours on the first attempt, in order to cast her vote for Obama.
Her perseverance, 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.
Victor was born in 1910 in Haiti. 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.
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,” Davis said. “Unfortunately there were dozens who didn’t get to vote because of problems.”
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