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93-Year-Old, Terminally Ill, WWII Veteran Determined to Cast One Last Presidential Vote Despite Being Bedridden

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Frank Tanabe loves his country. Frank Tanabe loves his country so much that he volunteered to defend it during the Second World War. Frank Tanabe loves his country so much that he volunteered to defend it during the Second World War despite the fact that he was being held in a Japanese internment camp after the government forced him to leave college and his family to close their business. He served in Europe with the Military Intelligence Service, a unit that was collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal last year.

Frank Tanabe also loves his country so much that he asked for an absentee ballot so that he could vote in this year’s presidential election, very likely his last, as doctors recently found an inoperable cancer tumor on his liver. Tanabe has been in hospice care at his daughter’s home for the last three weeks and lately has not been able to speak very much as his condition has deteriorated.

Despite the cancer, Tanabe was determined to cast his vote in the 2012 Presidential Election, because after fighting for and suffering through so much, he cherishes that right.

He’s been determined to vote regardless, eagerly asking when the ballot would be arriving in the mail, his daughter said. She kept telling him, “don’t worry, it’s coming.” He filled it out immediately when it landed in the mailbox on Wednesday.

Barbara Tanabe read aloud the names of the candidates to her dad. He either nodded “yes” to the names or shook his head “no.” She filled in the boxes on his behalf, following his instructions even when he didn’t pick the people she wanted.

“There were some that were OK, but there were others where I said, `Dad, are you sure?”‘ she said.

But he knew what he was doing. He’s kept up on the issues, reading newspapers regularly until only recently, she said.

Only until recently? So he doesn’t know that Joe Biden’s smile won the Vice-Presidential debate!?! Yet another uninformed vote…

No, in all seriousness this guy is pretty much your ideal American voter. If Frank Tanabe doesn’t make you want to go out and vote, then I don’t know what will. Vote or Die? Fuck you P Diddy, Frank Tanabe is literally holding death at bay in order TO vote. But what if Tanabe dies before the election? Will his ballot still count? A Hawaiian election official explained the state’s policy on that potential situation.

Glenn Takahashi, Honolulu election administrator, said absentee ballots cast by voters who later die become invalid if the state Department of Health notifies elections officials of the death before Election Day. To void a ballot when that happens, officials have to be able to sort through tens of thousands of ballots to find the one in question. This is not always practical, and so the ballot is counted if it isn’t.

A similar situation arose in Honolulu four years ago when President Barack Obama’s grandmother died two nights before the election but after she mailed her absentee ballot. Hawaii counted her vote anyway because the Health Department didn’t receive her certificate of death before the election.

I’m going to go ahead and motion that should this situation present itself then Takahashi or whoever deals with these things should probably just let a little bit of government “red tape” get in the away of voiding Tanabe’s ballot in time. I think the guy has earned the right to have his vote counted. In fact, if his ghost wants to show up to a Honolulu polling station in 2016 I’m cool with that too. Besides, you know he’s voting Republican. His Hawaiian daughter didn’t agree with some of his choices, and it was a Democrat who put him in an internment camp, after all.

Frank Tanabe is a damn fine American.



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