An 82-year-old North Texas woman had never cast a ballot until last week, when she finally decided to vote in the midterm elections — and then died a few days later.
The New York Post reports:
Gracie Lou Phillips “danced a little jig” around her walker after she returned from early voting, her family told the Washington Post.
“I voted!” the gravely ill woman, who was transitioning to hospice care, declared as she sat down and raised her fists into the air triumphantly.
The great-grandmother and former beautician from Grand Prairie had previously felt ambivalent about exercising her civic duty amid the belief that she didn’t have a voice, according to her family.
But her son-in-law, Jeff Griffith, said she changed her mind in recent years and registered to vote before falling ill with pneumonia and sepsis.
At the hospital, she kept discussing the elections.
“She was asking, ‘Isn’t there some way I can vote? Don’t they let people vote from the hospital?’ ” Griffith said. “It was really important to her.”
So on Thursday, Phillips made her way to the polling site at a nearby church, where she stayed in her car while workers brought out a paper ballot.
When she finished filling it out, he said, the poll workers clapped and cheered as she was handed a souvenir pen and a sticker.
“I voted today,” she said proudly.
The next morning, she took a turn for the worse.
“She said, ‘At least I voted,’ ” her son-in-law said. “It was one of the last coherent things she said to us.”
With her daughters by her side, Phillips died about 2 a.m. Monday.
“She was very proud,” Griffith said. “She wanted to drain the swamp. She voted straight-ticket Republican. She was very happy. She kept saying she finally got to vote.”
Phillips’ family hopes her fulfillment of a dream inspires others to cast their ballots in future elections.
“To have someone literally need oxygen to breathe, pure tank of oxygen to breathe, put it in her car and ask to go on what may very well be the last week of her life, that shows the dedication and priority that people need to look at,” her granddaughter Michelle Phillips told NBC-DFW.