An 82-year-old woman in North Texas passed away just days after casting her first-ever ballot in the 2018 midterm election, NBC-DFW reported.
Gracie Lou Phillips was surrounded by family members when she passed away early Monday morning, the family confirmed. She had been battling pneumonia and was transitioning to hospice care when she became one of the 4.8 million Texans to cast their vote early.
Phillips’ granddaughter Leslie Rene Moore described her grandmother to NBC-DFW last week as a “proud American” and “proud woman” whose family was her number one priority throughout her life, and said it was her busy family life and misconceptions about voting that kept her away from the polls until last week, when Gracie Lou made the decision to exercise her civic duty.
“She finally registered to vote for the first time in her life,” her other granddaughter Michelle Phillips said. “She kept telling everybody ‘I’m voting, I’m going to vote this year and my vote counts.'”
Gracie Lou’s family says “political vitriol” was what drove her to exercise her right to vote in Grand Prairie last Thursday. She was accompanied by her daughter and took a portable oxygen tank with her to the polling place, where she was met at the car and helped by volunteers.
“To have someone literally need oxygen to breath, pure tank of oxygen to breathe, put in her car and ask to go on what may very well be the last week of her life shows the dedication and priority that people need to look at,” Michelle said.
Her honorable accomplishment last week was captured on video, where she can be seen holding the iconic “I voted today” sticker, reading each word out loud.
Gracie Lou’s family hopes her deed will inspire others at the polls today and in the future.
“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.
Gracie Lou Phillips, a woman literally taking her final breaths voted before going into hospice care. No excuse for any of us to not exercise our right to do so tomorrow also. #Election2018 #ElectionDay #ElectionEve @maddow @NBCNews @krassenstein https://t.co/yyI5jSW2h8— Bob Marsdale (@BobMarsdale) November 6, 2018
Gracie Lou was one of the more than 800,000 people who registered to vote ahead of the midterm elections this year, Time reported, and that was just on National Voter Registration Day on September 25. According to data collected by Catalist, a company that compiles counts of ballots before Election Day, she cast her ballot early with more than 33 million other Americans–a number that is significantly higher than the 22 million that submitted their votes early in the entire 2014 election, CNN reported.