101-year-old woman fights for right to vote

A 101-year-old woman is fighting for her right to vote.

Miriam Lancaster found out in March that her ballot wouldn't be counted because of guardianship rules.

Some of Lancaster's friends said they believe the system needs an overhaul.

Lancaster turned 101 this month, and she hasn't lost her sense of humor.

“I am blessed today. I cannot believe it. I'd cry except I don't look very good when I cry,” Lancaster said.

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What she has lost is her right to vote.

“Every American should be totally outraged by what is happening here," said Lancaster’s friend Sally Baptiste, who took her to the polls.

“I want to vote. I want to be a part of this government,” Lancaster said.

In 2015, an Orange County court found Lancaster to be "totally incapacitated" and placed her under what's called a "plenary guardianship."

The guardian makes decisions for people who can't make them on their own. Court records show Lancaster has memory problems, and friends worried she could be scammed.

“She's very active and she's very much with it, but she does have some memory loss that we do need to address,” said Baptiste.

Lancaster held a sign outside a poll location, expressing her freedom of speech and her right to vote.

Lancaster was born before other women won the right to vote, and she is once again fighting for that right.

“I just want to have my say,” said Lancaster.

It's unknown how many others are in a similar situation because Florida doesn't track such numbers. Each state handles the issue differently.

Florida allows for limited guardianships, which provide some rights.

In Lancaster's case, anyone can ask the court to reinstate her voting rights at any time. The records show that Baptiste did so last fall but was unsuccessful.

“This is a state thing and it can be changed at the state level,” Baptiste said.

Lancaster's friends believe the problem is with the system, and they plan to ask lawmakers for reform. Her guardian said she didn't know Lancaster would lose her voting rights, and believes the issue is best left to the courts.

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