12-hour drives, last-minute flights. Missing absentee ballots prompt costly, lengthy in-person voting journeys

Kerry Justich
People go to extreme lengths to get home to vote after failing to receive absentee ballots. (Photo: Getty Images)
People go to extreme lengths to get home to vote after failing to receive absentee ballots. (Photo: Getty Images)

A record number of Americans voted early this year by sending mail-in ballots or voting in person ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day. But plenty of voters who never received their absentee ballots made sure that their voices were still heard. They went to extreme lengths to get their votes counted, even documenting on social media their last-minute trips home to vote in-person.

“I traveled across the country to do it, and this is what happened,” Perris Howard, an Arizona-native living in New York, captioned a TikTok video sharing how he booked a last-minute flight to Arizona to vote on Tuesday, after seeing that his registration form to vote in New York City wasn’t cleared. “Kind of expensive when you’re doing it last minute, but not as costly as disregarding my ability to change the results of the election,” he said in the video.

According to countless stories shared on social media, Howard isn’t the only one.

A number of the people who shared that they were flying home solely to vote were casting ballots in Florida, Texas or Arizona, which are all swing states. “Yeah, it’s THAT important,” Dee Snider of the band Twisted Sister tweeted. Others praised the voters of different ages and political beliefs for their dedication.

Still, some people pointed out the privilege of being able to pay for a trip home in order to vote. The notion prompted people on TikTok to actually finance a road trip for one young woman from Ohio who never received her absentee ballot after requesting it twice.

”I can’t afford to drive to Ohio and back to vote [because] I’m out of state right now. WHAT DO I DO,” Kylie Bloomfield wrote in a video on TikTok Monday night.

Followers began asking for her username on money-transferring apps to help provide her with gas money. Bloomfield didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo Life’s request for comment. According to her comments on the video, however, she had raised enough money within four hours to start her road trip and she promised to post updates.

“It’s 3 AM and we are on our way to go vote blue,” Bloomfield captioned a subsequent video of herself and her dog in the car.

Hours later, she shared a video of herself headed into her polling location in Ohio and returning with a sticker verifying her vote.

“Thank you to everyone who donated and or shared my other video,” she wrote.

Although the stories of those who made it home to exercise their right to vote have been praised, plenty of people are using the moment to shed light on the issue of voter suppression and how they believe the states accountable for many of these no-show ballots are adding to the problem.

According to Bloomfield, however, “The 12 hour drive was definitely worth it!!!”

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