(ROCKVILLE, Md.) — Estelle Liebow Schultz was born in 1918, two years before women gained the right to vote. When she cast her early vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election this month, Schultz said it was an historic moment.
“I felt like a million bucks,” Schultz, 98, told ABC News from her home in Rockville, Maryland, where she plans to watch election returns on Nov. 8.
Schultz, whose first presidential vote was cast for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, said she “never did” think she would vote for a woman for president.
Schultz’s granddaughter, Sarah Bunin Benor, of Los Angeles, said she believes the potential of seeing Clinton as president is keeping Schultz alive.
“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,” Benor 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.”
Shultz also said she looks forward to the possibility of seeing Clinton’s inauguration. “I hope I live that long,” she said. “I would like to.”
Schultz 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 website has a submission page for women, or their family or caregivers, to submit a photo and a quote on what it was like to vote for Clinton for president.
“We wanted to have it in the first person, in their own words, partly because often people think of really old people as not having much agency, of being disabled,” Benor said. “We wanted to highlight that many of them are still thinking strongly about these things.”
The website so far has nearly 20 submissions from women across the country ranging in age from 96 to 105-years-old.
A photo of Stellajoe Staebler, 100, of Centralia, Washington, was submitted by one of her three daughters. Staebler was born in 1916 and remarked, “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.”
“She thought about that and how she was proud to be able to vote for a woman,” Staebler’s daughter, Jo Ann Staebler, told ABC News. “She was also proud to have voted for the first person of color.”
Staebler voted for both President Obama and Clinton, but she has also voted for Republican presidential candidates in her lifetime. Her vote for Clinton on Sunday marked her 20th presidential election.
Jo Ann Staebler said her mom, who never went to college but was a longtime community advocate for environmental, immigration and peace issues, keeps up with the election and believes Clinton is the better candidate.
Garvin Colburn, 96, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, said she submitted her ballot for Clinton because she also believes Clinton is the best candidate.
“She votes for the best person, whichever candidate that is,” Colburn’s daughter, Cecilia Coburn, told ABC News. “She’s 96 and wanted to be sure that she went to vote.”
Colburn was born the year women gained the right to vote and has not missed an election in which she was eligible to vote.
“She had a wonderful time,” Colburn said of her mom’s voting experience this year.
Clinton, who has served as First Lady, U.S. senator and U.S. Secretary of State, has been met at stops throughout the campaign trail by women excited to cast their first vote for a woman president. A 102-year-old retired educator from Arizona, Jerry Emmett, helped announce the state’s delegates for Clinton at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia in July.
“I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet,” Clinton said to supporters when she secured the Democratic nomination in July.
Estelle Liebow Schultz, whose decision to tell her voting story on Facebook sparked dozens of others to speak out too, said she thinks it is “terrific.”
“I think many more women should be heard from,” Schultz said.
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