A 91-year-old World War II veteran, who faces losing the right to vote after state officials flagged thousands of people who may be ineligible, is now getting backup from two South Florida congressmen.
They spoke at a press conference in Davie asking for accountability and transparency.
“I think most of us know that what this is about is voter suppression,” Hastings said. “There is a concerted effort, not only in Florida but throughout this nation, to suppress the vote or to get people, as my colleague Deutch has said, to become discouraged.”
Internicola, who was born in Brooklyn, said he served in the Army for almost four years and was rewarded with the Bronze Star and the Chevalier Legion of Honor from France.
“I am glad that somebody took an interest in this, and I hope it does some good,” he said about the case.
The state has not commented specifically on it.
Internicola received the letter from the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office days ago.
“We have received information from the state of Florida that you are not a United States citizen yet you are registered to vote,” Deutch read from the letter. “You have 30 days to act on this notice or be removed from our voter rolls.”
Deutch said the letter told Internicola he could request an administrative hearing to prove his citizenship.
Internicola, who said he had voted in Florida for the past 15 years, was flabbergasted.
“I really don’t understand it,” he said. “To me, it is like an insult.”
Internicola has yet to hear back from the elections office but said he filled out the necessary information and sent a copy of his discharge paper.
Hastings, who called the purge sloppy, hurried and absurd, suggested the verification of the “staggering inaccuracy” be done by the Department of Homeland Security, and not the people accused of illegaly voting.
Deutch said nearly 1,200 Miami-Dade residents who received the letter have yet to respond, something Internicola also considered doing.
“I said to myself, ‘What difference does it make?’ I mean how many times am I going to vote now? I am 91 going on 92,” he said.
His wife was equally upset.
“I’m disgusted and annoyed that this should happen in our country,” Dolores Internicola said.