Gracie Lou Phillips made it to the polls for the first time after never voting in her 82 years of life, and then quietly passed away.
The North Texas woman cast her first ballot, voting straight-ticket Republican in early voting at Grand Prairie last week, NBC5 reported.
“I voted!” the triumphant woman, who was battling pneumonia and transitioning to hospice care, declared with celebratory fists in the air, according to The Washington Post which reported that her family said she “danced a little jig” around her walker upon returning from voting.
Phillips went to the polling site at a nearby church, portable oxygen tank by her side, and filled out a paper ballot brought out to the car by poll workers.
A great-grandmother and former beautician from Grand Prairie, Phillips had never voted before because she led a “busy family life” and had “misconceptions” about the voting process, according to NBC5. She eventually registered to vote before becoming ill with pneumonia and sepsis.
According to The Washington Post:
They had their hands full caring for seven children, and Griffith said his mother-in-law never voted because her husband, before his death a decade ago, always worried that the couple would get called for jury duty and “not be able to make ends meet.” In addition, he did not want them to be political for fear that it might sway business, the family said.
“Her priority through life was her family,” Leslie Rene Moore, Phillips’ granddaughter, told the station.
“She was asking, ‘Isn’t there some way I can vote? Don’t they let people vote from the hospital?’” her son-in-law, Jeff Griffith, said. “It was really important to her.”
“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,” Michelle Phillips, Phillips’ other granddaughter said.
After being cheered on by the poll workers and getting her sticker, Phillips headed home where she unfortunately grew worse over night.
“She said, ‘At least I voted,’ ” Griffith said. “It was one of the last coherent things she said to us.”
Phillips died about 2 a.m. Monday.
We profiled 1st time voter Gracie Lou Phillips of Grand Prairie last night. She was determined to vote – despite transitioning into hospice care.
Her family has informed me Mrs. Gracie Lou passed away overnight.
May her story inspire others: https://t.co/s9lLyquShE pic.twitter.com/k8fXja5xkr
— Maria Guerrero (@Maria_NBC5) November 5, 2018
“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.”
Her family hopes Phillips will go on to inspire others.
“To know that her voice is going to be heard forever is really exciting for us and we’re really proud of her,” Moore said.
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