Gooding County woman votes in every election for more than 70 years

Over the years she has worked the polls, counted votes and even made sure people remembered to vote.
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 7:52 AM MDT
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HAGERMAN, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) -This election season a Gooding County woman will be celebrating more than 70 years of voting, and she talked to KMVT News about how politics has changed over the years and who has her vote in 2020.

Ninety-seven-year-old Florence Mary Sandy is a creature of habit she has lived in the small town of Hagerman all her life, as well as, the house she was born in.

“Well, Hagerman hasn’t changed a lot," Sandy said. “There are a few more places, but it has always been a small pace. It’s one of the older cities in Idaho. I love the valley and the Snake River ... and the history."

The Hagerman native also takes voting very seriously. She has been an active voter for more than 70 years.

“I have voted in every election since. That is a lot of elections,” Sandy said with a laugh. “I don’t feel that old."

She said voting isn’t just something she sees as a constitutional right, but it is something she takes pleasure in and gets enjoyment out of. Over the years she has worked the polls, counted votes and even made sure people remembered to vote.

“If they hadn’t, we would send someone out to their house and get them to vote,” Sandy said.

Her daughter Cheryl Sandy Miller said her mother was also the president of the Gooding County Republican Women’s Committee for 14 years and is still an active member, as well as, other women’s chapters in Sun Valley and Magic Valley.

“She did a very good job of running the women’s Republican committee," Miller said. “That’s not easy to run a committee and keep it going that many years.”

Sandy said over the years the parties, Republican and Democrat, have stayed pretty much the same as far as their platforms and what each one stands for, but people are the ones who have changed the most. She feels voters can do a better job of listening and respecting each other’s opinions. Something she practiced years ago with her cousin who is a Democrat.

“I had a cousin who was a Democrat in Seattle, and I visited her a lot," Sandy said. “Our politics were completely a mile apart. We would have good conversations, and I always made it a discussion, not an argument.”

She attended the University of Washington as a young woman and was going to school there when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

“I still remember the President of the United States saying on the West Coast we were already at war with Germany, and I can remember somebody saying come and listen to the radio,” Sandy said. “And the president says turn out all your lights on the West Coast. I was there for four years in the dark at night."

Having lived in the Seattle area for years, Sandy said it is sad to see what has become of the place now, and she can’t help but wonder if the people who are rioting know what they are rioting about.

“It was a beautiful place to live," she said. “It was people who behaved. It was safe to walk anywhere at night in Seattle.”

The 97-year-old said she has been an active traveler all her life. She has a long list of places she has been to that most people would be envious of. Sandy has traveled to the North Pole, Europe and to South America. She said she also recently traveled to Mount Rushmore, but COVID-19 has slowed down a lot of her travel plans this year. However, the virus didn’t stop her from attending an event at Smiley Creek Airport in Blaine County last month to see Donald Trump, Jr.

“I was so impressed that he would come to Smiley Creek, and I was so disgusted with the weather because it was so smoky,” Sandy said.

She also said jokingly that he might have been more impressed with her than she was with him.

“(Trump Jr said) ‘You are so tall and straight, and you at 97 (years old) are here. You are out here.’ He was kind of impressed. He was really nice,” Sandy said.

She says she will be voting for his father, Donald Trump, in November because she likes his family, and because he is a businessman. She says he knows how to run a business, and the United States has to be run like a business.

“He is a good Republican,” Sandy said.

She said one of her favorite presidents was Ronald Reagan, who she also got a chance to meet decades ago.

“I got to go down to his farm down in California and meet him personally," she said. “He was a wonderful president.”

Sandy’s daughters said their mother has lived a full life and set a good example for many young people, like her great-granddaughter.

“She has done so many amazing things in her life, and I want to be just like her,” said Allie Silver, Sandy’s great-granddaughter.

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