Woman, 108, Votes for the First Time

Joanna Jenkins backs Obama

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff | Suggested by The_Old_Wolf

Posted Oct 31, 2012 12:42 PM CDT

(Newser) – Joanna Jenkins was not allowed to vote in her younger years thanks to Jim Crow laws—but even after those were abolished and the Voting Rights Act passed, she never voted … until this year, at the age of 108. Whose name did she check on her absentee ballot? “‘Bama!’” says the South Carolina woman. Family members have been hoping for years Jenkins would vote, but feared she would not be allowed because she doesn’t have a state ID and can’t read or write, the State reports.

But, informed by elections officials that the state’s voter ID law (which requires photo ID) does not apply this year, Kenkins got registered with the help of a cousin and her doctor. “She just got kind of carried away with wanting to vote” this year, her cousin explains. “Every time she sees President Obama on television, she really gets excited.” And when the absentee ballot was read to her, “She really didn’t draw any interest other than hearing Obama’s name.”

Absentee ballots are piled up after being counted at the Rensselaer County Board of Elections on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, in Troy, NY.
Absentee ballots are piled up after being counted at the Rensselaer County Board of Elections on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, in Troy, NY.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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