The centenarian said that this vote is "hands-down, without exception" the most important vote she has cast in her life.
Editor's note: We are re-sharing some of the best moments and most important stories of 2020. Although it was a difficult year for nearly all of us, there were also shining moments of light and signs of hope. This was one of them.
A 104.5-year-old New Yorker named Ruth is calling on voters across the nation to make their voices heard this election season. The centenarian went viral on social media this week after journalist Faith Salie shared her early voting story and passionate call to vote on Twitter. The Twitter thread documenting Ruth's trip to the voting center and the heartwarming reception she received from fellow voters there has been viewed over 1.8 million times by netizens, many of whom commended the senior for exercising her right to vote even amid the pandemic.
A beautiful voting official named Antonia asked for a photo with Ruth. pic.twitter.com/EPOlfv3FA1— Faith Salie (@Faith_Salie) October 25, 2020
Salie revealed in her tweet that Ruth was born in 1916 — before women had the right to vote — and that she had cast her first vote for Franklin D Roosevelt. "Today I had the honor of escorting my 104.5-year-old friend Ruth to vote. She was born before women had the right to vote. Her 1st vote was for FDR. Her dad died of the flu during the pandemic of 1918 when she was 2. This is her voting story today," the tweet read. It accompanied a video of a mask-clad Ruth stating that she wants "to vote more than anything just today before I shoot that a**hole, Trump."
Today I had the honor to escorting my 104.5 year-old friend Ruth to vote.— Faith Salie (@Faith_Salie) October 25, 2020
She was born before women had the right to vote.
Her 1st vote was for FDR.
Her dad died of the flu during the pandemic of 1918, when she was 2.
This is her voting story today. pic.twitter.com/FaJlPhGT42
Another video shows Ruth crossing Broadway towards Lincoln Center — "where she's lived since the Nixon administration" — accompanied by Salie's son and a voting official. When asked if this is one of the most important votes she's ever cast, Ruth said: "This is hands-down, without exception — and I'm talking about the First World War, the Second World War, and every other election before or since. This is it! That's why I'm so thrilled. That I... I'm still alive." While Salie couldn't film Ruth as she cast her ballot due to voting rules, she revealed that the senior had an extremely pleasant experience at the voting center.
"Photos and videos are not allowed at the actual voting site. So I can only tell you that the voting officials & volunteers were unbelievably kind—some were in tears; everyone made sure Ruth went to the front of the line. She was ready with her license that shows her DOB: 3/30/16 (That would be 1916.) But all she had to do was show her registration card & sign with a stylus she got to keep. My kids & I walked her to a private booth. I helped her stand. She filled in that circle HARD," the journalist tweeted.
When she inserted her ballot to scan, the place went nuts.— Faith Salie (@Faith_Salie) October 25, 2020
We walked out to the street & all the folks in line for hours cheered her. pic.twitter.com/JkAAxk3akK
Another video showed Ruth exiting the polling place to cheers and Salie revealed that the centenarian was overcome with emotion by the response. "As we walked away from the voting station, my 6.5-year-old girl reached for the hand of her 104.5-year-old friend Ruth, for whom my daughter had made 'a hat crown' that very morning," she tweeted. "People along Broadway cheered Ruth, now wearing her 'I VOTED EARLY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK' sticker. You could hear the claps for up and down the blocks."
As we walked away from the voting station, my 6.5 year-old girl reached for the hand of her 104.5 year-old friend Ruth, for whom my daughter had made “a hat crown” that very morning. pic.twitter.com/zfja31z6Zt— Faith Salie (@Faith_Salie) October 25, 2020
When asked how she feels after voting, a visibly emotional Ruth said: "I feel that I did the best thing that I could do under terrible circumstances. I hope that my vote counts as the vote of millions [and] that we will have Biden at the [White House]. I hope with all my heart. This is so important to me. This is the most important thing I could do!" After regaining her composure a few minutes later, Ruth had a very important statement to add to her response. "I forgot the punchline when you asked me how do I feel today," she said. "On top of everything else I said, now I can die happy!"
RUTH TO THE BOOTH!!!— Faith Salie (@Faith_Salie) October 25, 2020