If you didn’t vote today, this woman’s story will make you think long and hard about what a privilege you passed up.
102-year-old Guadalupe Portillo of Lincoln Heights, Calif. is voting in her first national election today, and she’s using it as an opportunity to call upon much younger eligible voters to recognize their power and head to the polls.
Portillo, who immigrated from Mexico in the 1980s and has been living in the United States as a legal resident, just gained citizenship last year. Voting in the state primaries in June, she told NBC Los Angeles, was “a feeling I had never felt before."
As she casts her first ballot in a national election today, she says she hopes the pride she takes in making her voice heard will give apathetic Latino voters a kick in the pants.
"It's never too late," she told the station. "Here I am at my age still fighting, and you won't even vote?"
While Latino voters have made some recent strides in increasing their voter turnout -- they were considered integral to President Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012 -- a study out of the Pew Research Center found that with a turnout rate of 31.2 percent, Latinos lag black voters (a 44 percent turnout) and white voters (48.6 percent). A possible explanation for that, the researchers noted, may be the voter subgroup’s relatively large number of young voters, who are less likely to vote.
"I may be old," Portillo said, "but I'm one more voice."