She was 82-years-old and it was her first time ever to vote. Gracie Lou Phillips returned from early voting last week to her home in North Texas. She apparently “danced a little jig” around her walker, then sat down and raised her fists into the air, her family said.
“I voted!” she declared.
The had never cast a ballot before in her life, she had a misapprehension about voting and the belief that she didn’t have a voice, her family said.
But her son-in-law, Jeff Griffith, said that in recent years, voting had become extremely important to Phillips, and she wanted to have a say in the 2018 midterm elections.
Gracie overcame being gravely ill and cast her first-ever ballot on Thursday in Grand Prairie. Just a few days later, Gracie died.
Phillips was a beautician and her husband, Bill, worked in construction.
Together, they cared 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.”
But after watching the elections in recent years, Griffith said, his mother-in-law wanted to participate.
She registered to vote, but then she became ill with pneumonia and sepsis, Griffith said. While Phillips was in the hospital, she kept talking about the election.
“She was asking, ‘Isn’t there some way I can vote? Don’t they let people vote from the hospital?’ ” he said. “It was really important to her.” He added that when she got home, “she kept insisting.”
So Thursday afternoon, Phillips, who was in hospice care, went to the polls — a church near her home.
Phillips, who was on oxygen, stayed in her car and poll workers brought her a paper ballot, Griffith said. When she finished filling it out, he said, they clapped and cheered.
A video from her family showed Phillips sitting in the vehicle, holding a souvenir pen and a sticker.
“I voted today,” she said, reading the words printed on the seal.
But the next morning, Phillips was not even able to get out of bed or to drink her morning coffee.
“She said, ‘At least I voted,’ ” her son-in-law recalled. “It was one of the last coherent things she said to us.”