Bill Internicola has lived in the United States 91 years and fought for his country in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, but according to the state of Florida he may not be a citizen.
Internicola received a letter in May from the Broward Supervisor of Elections stating that it received "information from the State of Florida that you are not a United States citizen; however you are registered to vote."
"I went crazy," Internicola said today in an interview near his Davie home. "I couldn't believe it. I called [the Supervisor of Elections office] and said what are you crazy? I've been voting since I was 18 years old."
Internicola shared his story today at a press conference with two Democratic members of Congress who represent portions of Broward: Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings.
Internicola sent Broward a copy of his Army discharge papers. He is one of six voters on the list who have provided paperwork to prove they are citizens, said Mary Cooney, a spokeswoman for the supervisor.
Broward was following the direction of the state Division of Elections after it forwarded the names of more than 2,600 registered voters to check for their citizenship status. Miami-Dade had the largest contingent while Broward had about 259. Voters have 30 days from the date they receive the letter to provide proof of citizenship or they will be removed from the rolls.
Deutch called the state-led effort a "great injustice".
"Bill Internicola is the face of Gov. Scott's request to purge our voter rolls," he said.
Hastings said the state was engaging in "voter suppression" and by not sending a pre-stamped envelope to these voters to mail back their proof of citizenship the state was using a "back-door poll tax."
In an interview, Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said she is complying with the state's direction but does not believe that the bulk of the voters who have yet to respond to her letter are non-citizens. She called for the state to stop the process and vet the list more carefully.