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.
So my registration to Vote here in Maryland didn't go through. I was pissed. I checked it out and turns out I am still registered to vote in Arizona. SO I JUST BOOKED A FLIGHT AND I LEAVE IN 2 HOURS.
— Adam Crigler (@AdamCrigler) November 2, 2020
We are heading out to Arizona! pic.twitter.com/UtmoNBu3bj
— Adam Crigler (@AdamCrigler) November 3, 2020
Flying home just to vote. Yeah, it’s THAT important. #MAKEAMERICAAMERICAAGAIN
— Dee Snider🇺🇸 (@deesnider) October 28, 2020
My mom still hasn’t received her ballot in the mail (this is the second one she has ordered) & is considering flying home to vote in AZ. She is SO committed to voting (she has only voted twice before). pic.twitter.com/IEZ87Uf0fM
— SassQueenOwens (@Shannon_O3) October 26, 2020
One of my students is flying back home to Texas to vote in person because she never received her absentee ballot. #VoteForYourLife
— Jill McCorkel (@JillMcCorkel) November 2, 2020
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.
the people flying home to swing states so they can vote there are my heroes
— ananya²⁸ says vote with rage (@goldxnnhazza) November 3, 2020
It’s dope to see people actually flying back to their home states just to vote. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 #vote
— francois (@itsmefranswa) November 3, 2020
Seeing college students flying back out to their home states amidst a global pandemic to vote because their absentee ballot never got mailed to them gives me a little hope
— la croix mamí (@Perlybear) November 3, 2020
Seeing all the tiktoks of younger voters flying home to vote because their mail ballots never showed up is the type of energy I like to see
— Rachael (@rachaelftv) November 3, 2020
If you need to be inspired on election day, I hope you come across @tiktok_us videos of young folx doing whatever they need to vote on November 3. I saw people flying home or driving 5+ hours, only to vote and then turn around and make the trip back.
— Diana, obviously. (@SparklyDiana) November 3, 2020
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.
the fact that people are flying home or driving 12 hours bc their absentee ballot had issues or never showed makes me sad like they have to go to these lengths to vote
— nyah xo (@hiya_nyah) November 3, 2020
I had to FLY all the way home to South Carolina because the defunded USPS did not get me my absentee ballot that I applied for in July. Now I’m in one of two Saturday precincts for a 300-400k person county in the South Carolina sun. 3 hour wait. That’s the south.
— Juanted House🕸🎃🏚 (@Pacheco_JA_) October 24, 2020
Literally flying home to texas from nyc *during a pandemic** to vote because my absentee ballot APPLICATION never arrived !!! tx why https://t.co/sT0g2HWU6t
— Ky Lohrenz (@kelohrenz) October 31, 2020
I can’t believe there’s a thread of people on tiktok flying home to Texas to vote in person because their absentee ballots never arrived. HOW CAN YOU SAY DEMOCRACY IS SAFE.
— Lara Catalina (@LaraCatalina) November 2, 2020
i cant believe people are literally flying home to vote because their absentee ballot never came. the voter suppression level is out of this world
— Aamenah (@ItsAamenah) November 2, 2020
According to Bloomfield, however, “The 12 hour drive was definitely worth it!!!”
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