Man with heart attack votes absentee – from a hospital bed

The Journal Sentinel | November 2 – Terry Kopplin didn’t let a heart attack prevent him from voting.

Kopplin, 69, used an absentee ballot.

Nothing unusual about that. Except that Kopplin had a heart attack at 7:30 a.m. on Election Day and while he was recovering in his hospital bed he managed to make sure his vote counted.

“People in the Election Commission weren’t sure what to do,” Kopplin said in a phone interview Tuesday evening from his St. Joseph’s Hospital bed. “Evidently this was a first – a guy with a heart attack wants to vote.”

Kopplin planned to go to his normal polling place at 82nd St. School and vote for Republican candidates on Tuesday. But the heart attack, his first, derailed his plans. While he was in the hospital his daughter called the campaign office for Republican governor candidate Scott Walker to see if there was some way her dad could still vote. Apparently there was, but with a lot of hoops to jump through, Kopplin said.

Someone who knew Kopplin and who lived in the same municipality had to print a form from the Internet, take it to the City of Milwaukee Election Commission and testify that he knew Kopplin. Then he had to bring the form to the hospital where Kopplin filled it out and signed it in front of two witnesses. The absentee ballot had to be returned to the commission by 5 p.m. Tuesday. His neighbor couldn’t make it and Kopplin’s kids don’t live in Milwaukee. Kopplin eventually found a friend who is a Milwaukee resident to do the grunt work.

“What I had to go through to get a ballot and get it signed and get it turned in by 5, leave it to politicians to come up with this,” Kopplin said.

Kopplin received a stent in his heart and is hoping to go home from the hospital on Wednesday.


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