EL PASO TX — The sky above downtown El Paso turned pink this weekend as the Ruiz family celebrated the 100th birthday of their beloved Carolina Ortega Ruiz; mother of 6, grandmother of 15, great grandmother of 19, and great, great grandmother of 4.
This birthday is special to Carolina not only because she has lived a century but because it's another opportunity for her to exercise a right she holds very dear.
Carolina started voting as soon as she became a U.S.. citizen and has cast her ballot every election since. The first president she voted for was Roosevelt.
Carolina's family says she has to cut through a lot of red tape to vote I this year's election.
"In a time where they want to make it harder for you to exercise your vote this lady did what took to follow the full extent of the law. She got an emergency ballot which she had to sign. She had to have a doctor sign it saying she couldn't leave the house, then we walked it to the county, released a ballot to me then we brought it here and she voted from her home"
But her family knows that it doesn't matter what if takes, Carolina will cast her ballot, "she used to pay to vote. Even when she had to pay it and it meant doing without something, she would do without groceries to pay the poll tax so she could vote"
And what an example she has been to the younger generations of her family, the Ruiz's are very active in their community, some have even run for office, and they say the peer pressure to vote is always there, "even as a young child when you'd come to grandma's house you'd see pictures of different presidential candidates on her fridge with all our family pics you'd see these different pics"