Dying man fights to get vote counted
TAVARES, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Jeff Korinko says his 76-year-old father, Thomas, is a diehard patriot who wanted to be certain he cast his vote this election. It likely will be his last presidential election, Korinko says.
Thomas is dying, having been diagnosed with liver cancer seven months ago. His health has rapidly declined, so much so, that last week he voted by mail. He couldn't physically make it to a voting booth.
This week, he's at a hospice center in Tavares, on and off morphine, and was expected to pass away on Wednesday.
But when he mailed in his ballot, the Lake County Supervisor of Elections Office determined his now shaky, frail signature did not match his voter registration signature and required further verification.
"This is not voter fraud. He's a registered, lawful, Florida voter," says Jeff. "This is his ballot, you have it, please count it. I was told, 'No.'"
The signature on every mail-in ballot in the state is compared to the voter registration signature on file to prevent fraud. But Jeff, who also happens to be an attorney, says, "To be disenfranchised in that manner, that can't be what's in the best interest of the law."
A recently enacted Florida law requires a vote-by-mail affidavit be mailed to voters like Thomas. A new signature and a photo ID turned into the appropriate Elections Office by 5 p.m. the Monday before Election Day can remedy the issue.
But in this case, Jeff's father has been unable to sign the affidavit, because of his steep decline and medicated state.
"I'm all cried out, cried earlier today. This was really important to my father. This was really important to my father."
Lake County's Supervisor of Elections Emogene Stegall says a county canvassing board will make the final determination.