102-year-old Joliet Woman Continues Voting History
JOLIET – The first time Anne Halik voted, the presidential candidates were Herbert Hoover, Norman Thomas and eventual winner Franklin D. Roosevelt.
That was 1932, just 12 years after the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave women the right to vote. The voting age was 21.
She’s been an avid participant in the electoral process ever since. The resident of Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County hasn’t missed an election on any level. “I voted every time.”
Halik, who will turn 103 on Nov. 17, will join other Sunny Hill residents in voting absentee at the county-owned facility on Friday, Nov. 2.
The centenarian was born in Chicago to immigrant parents of European descent, the oldest of eight children. They lived in Palos before moving to New Lenox. Her parents set an example of how to be part of their adopted country. “They used to vote. They did their duty.”
She and her now-late husband, Marcel, have one daughter, Millicent Anne James of Lockport. Halik never prompted her daughter to vote. “I didn’t have to. She’s a good American.”
But if she were to talk to young people – or others – about the opportunity to vote for our leaders, she knows what she would say. “It would tell them it’s very important,” she said. “They live here so they’re part of the process.”
Voting is, she said, “what it’s all about” as an American citizen.
Voting at Sunny Hill
On Friday morning, four election judges -- two Democrats and two Republicans -- will go to Sunny Hill to oversee absentee voting.
Of the 115 to 120 registered voters who live in the nursing home, between 80 and 90 have asked to vote this presidential election year, said Activity Director Larry Lindholm. If any of them cannot come to the common room to vote, the election judges will go to their rooms “to make sure everyone who wants to gets to vote.”
Interested residents who moved there too late to register for an election are registered later. “We make sure they’re ready for the next one.”
Administrator Karen Sorbero said the facility brings voting to the residents because this is their home now. As proponents of person-centered care, the staff’s goal is to cater to residents’ wants and needs.
“We want to bring the world to the residents – to their home.”
Sobero isn’t surprised Halik has a lifelong love of voting. She had been a volunteer at Sunny Hill long before she became a resident.
Sorbero says she has noticed that people who have a commitment to their communities often continue their involvement throughout their lives and that commitment becomes their legacies.
“Voting is part of Anne’s legacy.”