The XX Factor

Please Enjoy These Stories About 100-Year-Old Women Voting Early

103-year-old Ruline Steininger arrives at a Des Moines Clinton campaign rally on Sept. 29, 2016, the first day of early voting in Iowa.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This week, the story of one Anita Harris, 90, went viral. Harris, an Oregon resident who had been in hospice for about eight months, cast a mail-in ballot for Hillary Clinton and then died a few days later. Her tale began to spread after her son posted a picture of Harris holding her ballot on Facebook with the note, “My mom. Voting for HRC. She waited 90 years. She passed away last night. She’ll be cheering from above Tuesday nite.”

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Harris’ story is particularly tear-jerking—or, if you’re the kind of person who worries about dead people voting, infuriating, I suppose—but it is by no means the only poignant news story about a very old woman casting a ballot in this historic election. Local papers and news stations have done a solid job of chronicling the early voting of centenarians (or near-centenarians) who were born before women had the right to vote and who now have the option of voting for a woman. As we count down to Election Day, take a break from watching the polls to bask in the inspiration of five women who have survived 10 decades with their enthusiasm for democracy intact.

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Name: Estelle Schultz
Age:
98
State:
Maryland
Voted for: Hillary Clinton
Choice quote: “I’m very thrilled to be able to be alive at this crucial election.” (NBC News4 Washington)

Name: Sylvia Contover
Age:
99
State:
Massachusetts
Voted for: Hillary Clinton
Choice quote: “I was so happy to vote for Obama, because for our country, it was wonderful to have that happen. And now another historical event is having a woman in.” (Lowell Sun)

Name: Lee Feldman
Age:
100
State:
Florida
Voted for: Hillary Clinton
Choice quote: “As far as Hillary’s concerned, she’s brilliant. She’s got a brain and I think she’ll do very well. Her husband wasn’t too bad either.” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

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Name: Jerry Emmett
Age:
102
State:
Arizona
Voted for: Hillary Clinton
Choice quote: “I have lived for this day, to vote for her and to live to see her, the next president of the United States of America.” (Arizona Republic)

Name: Ruline Steininger
Age:
103
State:
Iowa
Voted for: Hillary Clinton
Choice quote: “I’m voting today. I’m not taking any chance and leaving it ‘til the election. When you’re 103, you make every minute count.” (CNN)

You may notice something that all these upright citizens have in common, in addition to having been born in the 1910s: All of them voted for Hillary Clinton. So did the scores of women who sent their stories into I Waited 96 Years!, a website profiling female voters born before the 19th Amendment was passed. All these women possess the wisdom that comes with age, and none of them saw fit to vote for Donald Trump. The rest of us should listen to our elders.

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