Voting was ‘last wish’ for 82-year-old Grand Prairie woman who died days after casting her first ballot

Voting was ‘last wish’ for 82-year-old Grand Prairie woman who died days after casting her first ballot

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Updated at 6:15 p.m.: Revised throughout with additional details.

Even as her health declined, 82-year-old Gracie Lou Phillips was determined to get to the polls for the first time last week.

She died Monday, just days after casting her first ballot in Grand Prairie.

Gracie Phillips of Grand Prairie died Monday at 82.

She’d never registered to vote before — her late husband, Billy Earl Phillips, always said no, worrying that they would get called for jury duty and have to miss work, she wrote. But this year was different, and she wanted to support President Donald Trump at the polls, she said in the post.

“This year is a very important year to vote, one vote can make a difference,” Phillips wrote.

Her family shared a video that shows Phillips in the car just after casting her ballot.

“I voted today,” she says, looking at her sticker.

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When she got home from voting, her family said she danced around her walker, then raised her fists in the air, declaring that she had voted, they told The Washington Post.

Her son, Jayson Phillips, said she had been in the hospital for two weeks with sepsis and pneumonia, but she was insistent on voting.

"All she could say was she wasn’t done yet — she wanted to go vote," Jayson Phillips said. "She said she knew it would be dangerous. She knew that she might not make it, but she said she wanted to do it. That was her last wish."

Jayson Phillips said his mother had been talking about wanting to vote since the presidential election. Gracie Phillips was an avid Facebook user, and she used the platform to stay up to date with news about Trump. She didn’t like when she would see "mean things" written about him there, Jayson Phillips said, so she wanted to use her vote to support the president.

After Gracie Phillips was moved into hospice care, one of her daughters took her to vote Thursday at a church near her house with a portable oxygen tank in tow, Jayson Phillips said. Poll workers at met her at the car while she filled out a paper ballot.

Voting took a toll on Gracie Phillips, her son said. The next day, she took a turn for the worse, he said.

One of the last things Gracie Phillips said to her family was, “At least I voted,” her son-in-law Jeff Griffith told The Post. She was proud of her vote: straight-ticket Republican, Griffith told the paper.

She was surrounded by family when she died Monday in Grand Prairie.

In most states, a person’s vote is counted if they cast it early (either in person or by absentee voting) and die before Election Day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-governmental organization.

The mother of seven had worked as a hairdresser when she was younger, Jayson Phillips said. She loved her family, the Texas Rangers, and the flowers she would plant in her yard, he said.

"Nobody was a stranger to her," he said. "Everybody was welcome in her house and her kitchen."

Jayson Phillips said he and his siblings all voted in the election — they couldn’t let their mom outshine them, said with a laugh.

"I’m very proud of her," he said. "She’s inspiring a lot of people. She said… ‘It doesn’t matter who you vote for, you have a right. It was fought for and it was won.’"

Services for Phillips were scheduled for Wednesday in Grand Prairie.

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Marcia Mosley