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WWII vet from Hawaii dies at age 93 after casting last ballot

By Audrey McAvoy

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:01 p.m. HST, Oct 25, 2012

A World War II veteran who inspired many with his determination to vote even though he had end-stage liver cancer has died.

Frank Tanabe's daughter Barbara Tanabe says he died this morning at her Honolulu home. He was 93.

Hundreds of thousands of people saw a photo of Frank Tanabe filling out his absentee ballot with the help of his daughter last week, after his grandson Noah Tanabe posted the picture on the social media site Reddit.

Frank Tanabe served in a mostly Japanese-American unit of the Military Intelligence Service during WWII. He volunteered to join the Army from the Tule Lake internment camp in California.

Decades later, Tanabe explained how he felt in an interview for a documentary tribute to Japanese-American veterans.

“I wanted to do my part to prove that I was not an enemy alien, or that none of us were — that we were true Americans. And if we ever got the chance, we would do our best to serve our country. And we did,” he said.

Honolulu elections officials say his vote will be counted unless they receive his death certificate before the Nov. 6 election and are able to single out his ballot from those submitted.

His family knows which candidates he chose, but they’ve decided to keep that information private.

Barbara Tanabe said it’s not important who her father voted for — it’s the voting itself that makes a difference.

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hilopango wrote:
Rest in peace, Tanabe-san.
on October 24,2012 | 11:29AM
McCully wrote:
This is what America is all about. Mr. Tanabe said it was his duty to vote and everyone should foolow his wisdom and VOTE.
on October 24,2012 | 11:40AM
MakaniKai wrote:
Beautiful story about this man on the news the other night. God bless Mr. Tanabe and his 'ohana. Mahalo nui and Aloha.
on October 24,2012 | 11:55AM
false wrote:
And some people do not exercise their right to vote. Oh well. Thank you for serving Mr. Tanabe. Aloha to your family.
on October 24,2012 | 12:10PM
btom wrote:
The story states,"Honolulu elections officials say his vote will be counted unless they receive his death certificate before the Nov. 6 election and are able to single out his ballot from those submitted." So Mr. Tanabe's vote will not count if the elections officials receive his death certificate? What a shame.
on October 24,2012 | 12:25PM
Ratrase wrote:
Yeah, WHY?
on October 25,2012 | 07:39AM
clydek wrote:
So sad. Another member of the Greatest Generation passes on. Rest in peace. Aloha and mahalo...
on October 24,2012 | 12:42PM
scooters wrote:
What do they mean, his vote will count if they don't get the death certificate before Nov 6? Are they out of their mind! He voted and it should count, not MATTER WHAT!!!
on October 24,2012 | 12:49PM
lopelani wrote:
Condolences to the Tanabe Ohana. His vote should count, he did his duty as a citizen. If a man on his deathbed is able to cast his vote, let all registered voters do the same and cast their vote. What is wrong with our election officials, why would they disqualify him, and why would they get his death certificate. They should pay attention to their job, proofreading the ballot, for example, before it goes out to print so that mistakes are caught before it is tooo late. Auwe, to their lack of responsibility to just getting the ballot right. Let's hope on election day that they are up to the task.....
on October 24,2012 | 04:27PM
702WarriorFan wrote:
Rest in Peace Mr. Tanabe, thank you for serving our country. Condolences to Mr. Tanabe's ohana.
on October 24,2012 | 12:50PM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Mahalo for your service to your country, Mr. Tanabe. Now, you're on to better things.
on October 24,2012 | 12:53PM
allie wrote:
God bless you and thanks for reminding us we all can and must vote. This wonderful man fought for our right to vote!
on October 24,2012 | 01:12PM
kainalu wrote:
I had always wondered what happened with Barbara Tanabe. Our condolences to her and the rest of the ohana.
on October 24,2012 | 01:32PM
cincinm wrote:
His vote should count as it was duly cast & mailed prior to his death.
on October 24,2012 | 02:13PM
Anonymous wrote:
The story brought tears to my eyes. We owe Mr. Tanabe and his generation a great deal. Next time, try to remember their sacrifices when you think you don't need to vote.
on October 24,2012 | 02:19PM
MakaniKai wrote:
My eyes are welled up with tears reading everyone's posts. It would be a shame beyond belief if Mr. Tanabe's vote was not counted! Auwe
on October 24,2012 | 03:35PM
NoFlippinWay wrote:
Rest in peace Tanabe-san, thank you.
on October 24,2012 | 02:33PM
aomohoa wrote:
Now this is a true American being responsible to the end. I hope they don't file his death certificate before November 6th. More people hear need to take the privilege of voting seriously. Condolences to his family.
on October 24,2012 | 02:48PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
American Hero
on October 24,2012 | 02:54PM
Bothrops wrote:
Note to Honolulu election officials--don't even think about it. There was more honor in that man and his vote than most of us can claim. What an amazing American! Now do what he said and VOTE!
on October 24,2012 | 02:57PM
kennysmith wrote:
i wish the best and rest in peace
on October 24,2012 | 03:21PM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
The article says: "Honolulu elections officials say his vote will be counted unless they receive his death certificate before the Nov. 6 election and are able to single out his ballot from those submitted." I would like to know exactly what the law says about counting votes from dead people, and what steps the elections office takes to fulfill its responsibilities under that law. Surely Mr. Tanabe is not the only person this year who is voting early, either in-person or by mailed absentee ballot, who then dies before the official election day. We also have military people serving in war zones who might send in their ballot and then be killed in battle the following day or week. Does the law say the vote should be counted, or does it say the vote should not be counted? And if a vote by a dead person is not supposed to be counted, then who has the responsibility of notifying the elections office about the death, and what steps would the elections office take to stop that vote from being counted? Surely a grieving spouse or family, in the midst of arranging for memorial services and burial, should not be expected to give priority to sending a death certificate to the elections office. And surely it's unrealistic to expect the elections office to comb through thousands of mailed-in ballots, during the extremely busy period leading up to an election, looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. By the way, I did a very small case-study in one precinct during the primary and general election periods in 2010, regarding the question "Can dead people vote in Hawaii?" Even with my very primitive, small study, I found two very suspicious cases. What's worse, I ran into a brick wall of stonewalling and obfuscation from the Office of Elections, the County Clerk, and the Department of Health. See http://tinyurl.com/2azu7c6
on October 24,2012 | 03:29PM
M75 wrote:
on October 24,2012 | 03:39PM
312guy wrote:
Mr Tanabe Thank you for your serrvice to this great nation, thank you for your voting example. Your vote should stand, Mr. Tanabe was alive when he casted his vote. My condolenses and prayers.
on October 24,2012 | 05:11PM
BadBingo wrote:
Mr. Tanabe must have been a wonderful man. I honor and thank him for his service.
on October 25,2012 | 11:24AM
PaloloValley wrote:
Rest in peace, Mr. Tanabe/
on October 25,2012 | 02:49PM
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