Galicia Malone's water had just broken and she was on her way to the hospital to give birth to a baby girl when the 21-year-old decided to stop over at a nearby church and cast her very first vote.

"I never voted before so this made a major difference in my life," said Malone, who was experiencing contractions five minutes apart when she pulled into her polling place at the New Life Celebration Church in Dolton. "And I wanted this to be a stepping-stone for my daughter."

The imminent birth made it hard to focus on the ballot, but she pushed through and voted through the pain. "I was just trying to read and breathe, read and breathe," she told a local radio station.

The Cook County Clerk's office hailed Malone as a model citizen. "My hat goes off to Galicia for not letting anything get in the way of voting," said Cook County Clerk David Orr in a statement. "What a terrific example she is showing for the next generation, especially her new son or daughter."

[photo via Cook County Clerk's Office]