Updated: Friday, 26 Oct 2012, 7:30 AM EDT
Published : Friday, 26 Oct 2012, 7:27 AM EDT
BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (CNN/WSAV) - A 108-year-old woman plans to vote in her first election next month, and the South Carolina woman spoke about what inspired her to cast a ballot after so many years.
"I feel good," said Joanna Jenkins.
For decades, Joanna has watched elections come and go. But something, and someone, is standing out about this election, and she is using her right to vote for the very first time.
"She's just excited. She wants to vote this year,” said cousin Shirley Lee. “We were looking at the elections, and as the debates were going on, she decided -- say, 'I want to vote,' all of a sudden. She just wants to vote. She just decided that she wants to vote. She's excited to vote."
Because she can't read or write and does not have a state-issued ID, Joanna’s family didn't think she'd be eligible to vote. But thanks to help from their family doctor and the Beaufort County Board of Elections, she's now registered as an absentee voter.
But elections officials said her case is extremely unusual.
"It's incredible,” said Scott Marshall, Beaufort County election director. “She grew up in a time when Jim Crow laws were fully in effect, and minority voter suppression was the norm. And to vote was a fight, not a right, at that time. So for her to be voting now is a great example to others that it's never too late to vote, and you should always exercise your right to vote."
"She was telling everyone, everybody that came by to visit, she was just telling everybody, 'I'm going to vote! I'm going vote! I'm going vote!' So this year, she's going do it,” said Lee.
For Joanna, there's no better time than now to start her voting record, and who gets her vote? Obama.