A vote 103 years in the making
Updated 10:09 AM ET, Wed November 2, 2016
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- Steininger was one of the first people in Iowa to vote in person for Hillary Clinton
- That Steininger was able to vote in the 2016 presidential election holds historical significance of its own
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN)At age 103, Ruline Steininger feels that she has little time to waste.
That's why in September, Steininger became one of the first people in her state to vote in person for Hillary Clinton for president, taking one step closer to fulfilling her wish of being alive if Clinton makes history in November.
In a brief backstage meeting with Clinton in Iowa, to which CNN was given exclusive access, Steininger told the Democratic nominee in September: "We're going to put you in the White House."
"I'm going to help all the way. I'm voting today," said Steininger, who came prepared with a handmade "Hillary" sign attached to the front of her walker. "I'm not taking any chance and leaving it 'til the election. When you're 103, you make every minute count."
"And you have made every minute of all those years count," Clinton responded.
Steininger also congratulated Clinton on her first debate against Donald Trump, which at the time had just happened. "You did very well," she said.
Clinton's visit to the Hawkeye State was aimed at promoting the first day of in-person voting in the state. The campaign sees early voting as a critical part of earning support in battleground states, and plans to organize more events to encourage voters cast their ballots ahead of November 8th.
That Steininger was able to vote in the 2016 presidential election holds historical significance of its own. A former schoolteacher, Steininger was born in 1913 before the first World War -- an era when women were not allowed to vote.
With a passion for politics, Steininger has voted in every single election since 1936, when she first cast her ballot for Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In February, Steininger cast her ballot for Clinton on the night of the Iowa caucuses.
"I've got a big job ahead of me ... I've got to live!" she said at the time. "After that, OK, I can die if I want to, but I'm going to live until she's elected."
Overwhelmed by the possibility of Clinton becoming the country's first female president, Steininger wrote a letter to the former secretary of state earlier this year.
"In my first century of life, I've seen many incredible things" she wrote. "A pandemic, two worldwide depressions, a cure for polio, the first Catholic president, a man on the moon, the end of smallpox, an attack on American soil, and a black president. In my second century, I look forward to seeing a woman president."
Speaking to supporters in Iowa in September, Clinton called out to Steininger sitting in the crowd.
"I am so grateful for her support," Clinton said. "It's a great honor to have Ruline supporting me. I am so pleased and she's going to go vote early today to make sure her vote counts."