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Election notebook: 'I do my own thing'

By Juan Carlos Lopez, CNN Español
updated 10:22 AM EDT, Wed May 30, 2012
John De Shazo of San Antonio won't be able to vote this year.
John De Shazo of San Antonio won't be able to vote this year.
  • CNN's Juan Carlos Lopez is traveling the country focusing on Latinos and the election
  • In San Antonio, he met John De Shazo at the Alamo
  • De Shazo can't vote this year because of a criminal record

Editor's note: CNN Español anchor and correspondent Juan Carlos Lopez is on the CNN Election Express this week, traveling through several states, taking an in-depth look Latino voters and how their vote will influence the November elections. Here is a look at one of the people he met along the way:

San Antonio (CNN) -- John De Shazo is 74 and lives in San Antonio. He spends his days near the Alamo, watching people go by, talking with friends and enjoying the city life.

John can't vote -- we'll get to that later -- but he says sometimes he is glad he doesn't because "I see the policies and all the brick wall and the whitewash that they run on you." The "they" he refers to are politicians.

Instead, John prefers to talk about the Spurs. He marvels when he tells me how he saw Shaquille O'Neal at a store recently. Of course, he is following the NBA finals closely.

John has witnessed the growth of San Antonio, where he was born. He admires the economic growth and the constant flow of tourists. A lot has changed in three-quarters of a century.

Courting the Latino vote
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John lives by himself, but doesn't like to stay at home. So he has a daily routine. He spends eight or nine hours outside, weather permitting.

His philosophy on life is simple: "I don't bother nobody, I don't want to bother anyone. I just want to live my life until it's time for me to go and that's it. I don't have no grudge on nobody. I do my own thing and if they want to do whatever they want to do that's their own problem, not mine."

But back to why John De Shazo can't vote.

John is a convicted felon. He is no longer allowed to vote.

In 1976, he was arrested for sending threatening letters to politicians -- including Sen. Robert Dole, Vice President Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush and San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros -- and lost his right to vote. But back then, he claimed that he never intended to hurt anyone. He just wanted to get some psychiatric help.

Still, he will watch the election this year on the sidelines. For that, he only blames himself.

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