When Sara Muniz was born in 1914, Woodrow Wilson was in the White House. The first presidential candidate she voted for was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932.

On Tuesday, Muniz marked her 106th birthday, and she celebrated at the polls. “It’s important for the community,” she said of exercising her right to vote. 

From the backseat of a van, Muniz voted curbside at the Alzafar Shrine Auditorium polling location as three generations of her family watched from the parking lot. 

Muniz wanted to vote in person on her birthday, said her son-in-law Nick Carnevale, even though the other 140 residents from her nursing home participated in early voting last week or mailed in their ballots. 

“Very rarely do we get somebody who’s in the kind of great health that Ms. Muniz is in, and for her to still have the capacity to do the voting and to be here on Election Day at that age is really unique,” said Christian Reinarz, CEO of The Enclave nursing facility. “So this is something that we were excited to participate in.”

After Muniz voted using a digital device, Mayor Ron Nirenberg was on hand to greet her. “Feliz cumpleaños!” he said.

“You’ve given us all a gift with your vote,” Nirenberg told her. “I wish I could come to the party. You’re my hero.”

Mayor Ron Nirenberg takes a photograph with 106-year-old voter Sarah Muniz. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

For the six family members who watched the matriarch cast her vote, it was the first time they’d had seen Muniz in person since the pandemic began. 

They used the opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday” and cheered.

Carnevale said Muniz has always voted Democrat and she never talks about the past – always about the future “and young people.”

This year marked the first time Muniz’s 21-year-old great-granddaughter Anisya Baez was able to vote in a presidential election. Baez said she felt inspired by Muniz’s example. “It’s like a moment in history,” she said. 

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.