Grace Holderman said she doesn’t remember the first time she voted in a presidential election, or who it was that she voted for.
However, Holderman said she does know with certainty that if she was allowed to vote at 18, that’s exactly what she did.
Holderman turned 100 earlier this year. Born Sept. 8, 1912, she reached the age of 18 in 1930, a year after Herbert Hoover was voted into office.
Three years later, in 1933, Holderman voted in her first election between Hoover and his Democratic opponent, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Holderman said she knows that she voted for “FDR” all three of his terms as president.
There have been no more than 17 presidential elections since Roosevelt was elected the first time, and Holderman — who has lived in State College since moving from California in 1941 — said she has voted in all of them.
“I think it’s my responsibility to [vote], and I want to be able to follow my annual dues,” Holderman said. “As a citizen of this country, it’s my great responsibility and my ability to do it, and I don’t want to shirk that duty.”
Holderman was inducted into the Pennsylvania Voter Hall of Fame in 2002 for her lifelong commitment to casting her vote.
Joyce McKinley, director of voter registration for Centre County, said the process of receiving this induction is fairly straightforward.
“We plan it through the Department of State in Pennsylvania, and they promote it,” McKinley said. “You have to be a fifty-year consecutive voter in the November general elections to be considered for the induction.”
Despite her consistency, Holderman said she has never been a particularly avid voter, nor is she registered as a Democrat or Republican and has never worked for any particular party, she said.
“I’m just what seems to be, in my heart, the right thing to do or say, and I certainly don’t vote to please anyone else but myself to be sure,” she said. “I’m just doing what I think I am qualified to do and able to do.”
Holderman said she did not grow up in a very political household either, and does not remember much in the way of having a politically centered childhood. But she said her parents may have been Democrats, as they were poorer people, and that’s generally the way their ballots went, she said.
Still, Holderman said she believes that regardless of anyone’s personal background, voting is something that everyone ought to have a part in.
“It is not just our responsibility, but our privilege to vote, and so of course we all should want to exercise whatever duties we can to fill our part,” she said.
Holderman said that though she is ashamed to admit she has not been particularly attentive to the current election, she nevertheless is planning on making her way to polls on Nov. 6, just as she always has, to cast her vote for president.
Nowadays, Holderman said she gets most of her information about the campaign from watching television and reading, and will contemplate her decision for a long while before actually making it.
“You do a great deal of thinking about it, and so I always feel comfortable with what I write down,” Holderman said. “I never vote against my own basic desires, or wishes, and I never vote to uphold one particular political party over another. I just vote for what I feel is the right thing.”