Speed Reads

If They Can Do It...

Let these 97- and 102-year-old first-time voters convince you to cast your ballot

The general consensus is this year's midterm elections are a snoozer. A couple of first-time voters — with a combined age of 199 — would beg to differ.

Ninety-seven-year-old Chengyi Pan and 102-year-old Guadalupe Portillo were sworn in as American citizens in the last year. Pan arrived in 2009, when her husband's death left her with no relatives in her native China. Her voting logic is straightforward: "Because the U.S. is the best country in the world, if I become a member of this country I want to do all I can to continue to help this country."

Originally from Mexico, Portillo had been living and working in the U.S. since the 1980s and waited decades to perform her civic duty. When she finally voted in the California state primaries earlier this year, she recalled being "so emotional. It was a feeling I had never felt before." And Portillo has no patience for apathetic voters: "Here I am at my age still fighting, and you won't even vote?"

Instead of thinking up excuses for not voting, perhaps you should just listen to your elders on this one.