The 2016 election is notable not only for who is running—the first woman to earn the presidential nomination of a major political party—but for who is voting: women who were born before they even had the right to. People like Stellajoe Staebler, 100, of Washington state, who was born in 1916:
"I am grateful that at the age of 100 I'm still able to vote and that there is a highly qualified woman to vote for."
And Estelle Liebow Schultz, born in 1918, and who participated in her first election when she voted for Franklin D. Roosevelt.
"She was in the hospital about one-and-a-half years ago and was diagnosed with a heart condition and was told she only had six months to live," (Schultz's granddaughter, Sarah Bunin) Benor, of Los Angeles said. "She kept saying, 'I want to live long enough to vote,' and now she wants to see [Clinton] get inaugurated so it's almost like she's living for this election."
And Lee Feldman, 100, of Florida.
"It's about time we have a woman president," said Feldman, a widow, mother of three and a self-described strict Democrat who resides in a Kings Point condominium with her live-in aide. "It's the first time getting a chance to vote for a woman and she happens to be brilliant."
The 19th Amendment, passed in 1920, gave women the right to vote. Now, Just four years away from that centennial, the 2016 election serves as a reminder for these voters—and for their families —that there was a time it wasn’t so.
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There is no precise count of how many female voters mirror Feldman, born before 1920 and passage of the 19th amendment. But U.S. Census figures show that there were 11,335 women 97 and older in 2010 —perhaps as many as 10,000 potential voters who might be relishing this historic moment.
Schultz, who lives in Maryland, was eager to let Hillary Clinton know about her vote,
and asked her granddaughter to share a photo of her voting for Clinton by absentee ballot on Facebook earlier this month. The post received 2,000 likes and sparked an idea in the minds of Benor and her mother, Roberta Benor, who is Schultz's daughter.
The pair recruited two friends, Tom Fields-Meyer and Shawn Fields-Meyer, to create the website "I Waited 96 Years." The website features the photos and stories of women like Schultz who were born before the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified in 1920.
The site has 20 profiles of women—with room for more—born before 1920 and voting for the first woman candidate from a major party.