SAN ANTONIO – If you took advantage of early voting and traveled to Memorial Branch Library this past Sunday, you might’ve crossed paths with one of the oldest voters in San Antonio.
Ruby Hermes, 106, just cast her ballot in her 22nd presidential election.
“I went because I’ve always voted,” Ruby Hermes said. “Always.”
To put her age into perspective, the Chicago Cubs just ended their 108-year World Series drought in 2016, having last won a championship in 1908.
Hermes was 9 when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1920, but the right to vote would not affect her for another 11 years – just in time for the 1932 election.
“There was no TV, radio or anything like that. (Voting) was all done by hand, (ranking candidates) one, two, three, four, five,” Hermes said.
Hermes, the middle child of three, credits her father – who worked at the Bexar County Tax Assessor office – for instilling the importance of voting and being around politics all of her life.
“I think everyone should take an interest in your politicians, and it doesn’t matter about the party they belong to, but what they stand for,” Hermes said.
It’s no secret this year’s candidates – Republican nominee Donald J. Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton – have had their fair share in the middle of controversial headlines.
Ironically enough, it’s the only information she was able to gather in preparation of this year’s election.
“I get the paper but I can’t read all the small print so just the headlines in the paper. It’s always been…I hate to use the word 'dirty,' but politics has always been that way,” Hermes laughed.
Ruby Hermes was born and raised in San Antonio and lives in the same small, one-story home on the west side after her family had lost their first home in the tragic 1921 flood.
With no children or immediate family, Hermes turned to three sisters for help. She said they first started out just cleaning her home, but now work three separate shifts during the days for 24/7 care.
Patricia Pantoja, 40, who works the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, says she figured Hermes was one of San Antonio’s oldest voters but sometimes forgets her age, though she is very competent at her daily tasks.
“She’s here reading her paper, talking with me, watching the television, and prays the rosary,” Pantoja said. “We talk about my problems, how her previous day went, and we were just talking about going to bingo.”
“That’s Friday, no?” Hermes interrupted.
There’s no question Hermes took part in one of the most unconventional presidential elections ever, but offered one piece of positivity to living a long life and how she got to this point of contributing in this year’s ballot.
“The secret is: Don’t see doctors. Stay away from them. They’ll find something wrong with you,” Hermes joked.