Woman born 14 years before women were guaranteed right to vote
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 10, 2012) — Margaret Harris hasn’t voted in an election in 84 years, but with the help of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mercer County Clerk Chris Horn, on July 6, the 105-year old registered to vote, making her eligible to participate in the November 2012 Presidential election.
Harris was born in 1906, 14 years before women were guaranteed the right to vote. She cast her first and only ballot in the 1928 Presidential election. She said it felt good to vote then, and she and her family are happy she’ll be able to do it again this year.
As Kentucky’s chief advocate for civic engagement, Grimes said she was honored to help Harris register.
“Every vote counts, and no one who is eligible to vote should be prevented from doing so because of factors related to age, disability or illness,” Grimes said. “I know how important it is and was to my grandmothers to vote, and I know they are proud that I was able to help Mrs. Harris register and educate her about absentee voting.”
Everyone wants to know Harris’ secret to a long life. She credits three things: God, family, and work. The proof that her formula works is in her famous corn pudding.
Harris has lived in Harrodsburg since she was 10 years old. Fittingly, Harrodsburg is Kentucky’s oldest city, and Mrs. Harris lives on its oldest street. She has been a member of the same church, where she also attended school, since moving to Harrodsburg and is still a constant there every Sunday.
She worked in Harrodsburg for 37 years and is the matriarch of five generations. She raised nine children, and she is especially proud that each of her five sons served in the military. She has more than 50 grandchildren and 50 great-grandchildren, and nearly 20 great-great-grandchildren so far. Each raves about her cooking and gives glowing reviews of her fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, candied yams and corn pudding. The recipe for Harris’ culinary success may be that she always grew and canned her own vegetables and raised her own chickens.
Since retiring, Harris has spent time traveling across the United States with her daughter Mary. She lives independently and still does some of her own cooking.
“Mrs. Harris has been a fixture in her community for nearly a century, and by voting in the upcoming election, she will add to her already impressive legacy for its future,” Grimes said. “I hope her example inspires others to take an active role in elections and shaping the path of our state and nation.”
The deadline to register to vote in the November 2012 Presidential election is Oct. 9, 2012. Learn more about voter registration at www.sos.ky.gov.
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