Margaret Hall of Kodiak wanted very badly to vote this year. She first saw the voting process up close in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The year was 1920. It was the first election since women received the right to vote in the United States. Hall was in a stroller when she watched her mother cast her vote, a moment that stayed with her all her life.
“It’s almost like a duty, that constitutional duties and they support federal … the constitution says ‘we the people,’ it doesn’t say ‘we the government,” Hall said. “It doesn’t say ‘we the president’ or ‘we the Supreme Court or we the Congress.’ It says ‘we the people’ and that’s who we are.”
Even at 101 years of age, she planned to vote in this year’s election but she died peacefully Friday morning.
A week before the election, she looked forward to voting on the anniversary of her mother’s vote 100 years ago. She hadn’t missed many elections since she first voted in her 20s. She said she might have voted in her late teens if she could but before the 1970s, the voting age was 21.
She probably would have voted in the presidential elections she missed in the 1940s and 1950s, but Alaska was still a territory and had no electoral college representation. Voting, particularly in Alaska, was not something she took lightly.
Hall’s friends, like Jenny Stevens, adored her dedication. She says that Hall embodied selflessness in the political process and was a role model to other voters.
From a stroller in 1920 to a wheelchair in 2020, Stevens says Hall has had a remarkable journey.
“Just determined to go even if she has to go in a carriage again. That determination that, you know, of the Democratic attitude, you know, that this is our right and our responsibility at the same time. So, so inspiring,” Stevens said.
Hall would have joined millions of other Americans and many thousands of Alaskans in casting her ballot this election. Hall’s son, Daniel, said that his mother’s message to voters would be obvious.
“To vote and take that responsibility that, even though she didn’t make it this time to vote, that they could do it for her. Everybody should remember to vote,” Daniel Hall said.
While her passing will greatly affect the Hall family, they are grateful to those in the community who knew her.
“It was always a comfort for us to know that the town was there for her and that so many people looked after her,” he said. “There’s just a lot of people that we are, you know, grateful for. There’s not a lot that I could tell Kodiak about my mom because they probably know her as well as I do.”