The act of fair-access to voting alongside equal rights have been ideals that my family has fought for for generations. I’ve watched my Dad, who has run the Urban League of Palm Beach County for the past 18 years, work tirelessly to get thousands of people registered to vote. I root him and his crew of volunteers on who get on the streets before sunrise to pick up and drive elderly voters to the polls the entire election day, just to make sure that their voices are heard.
At 28 years old, I have now voted in two Presidential elections. However, this year, voting is seemingly more difficult than ever. Voting is a right that every American possesses, and I am fighting hard to make sure that my vote counts. And this election cycle may be the most profound and impactful election in our lifetimes.
I am still registered to vote in Fulton County, Atlanta, GA as I am temporarily living in Chicago as a student. To-date, I have submitted my absentee ballot application no less than 5 times since August. I have called the local election office to ensure that my absentee ballot was received after sending in the application twice. I was told that my application was not received / processed. The representative instructed me to email my application directly to her, and subsequently confirmed receipt and it being processed. Last week, I accessed the portal to check my status, and see an entirely new system for absentee ballots. I am instructed to apply AGAIN with the BallotTrax system. We are a month out from the election and this is a brand new system. Today is October 12th, I received a text that my ballot is in the mail a week ago, yet it is still not in my mailbox.
Will I have the opportunity to vote? Will I ever receive my ballot? Will my vote be counted?
That is yet to be determined.
How many other Americans are going to extreme lengths to cast their ballot? I can assume that some Americans are checking their local election websites to track their ballots like it’s their social media pages, because they care about exercising their right to vote as much as I do. But, the reality is that most Americans will not go out of their ways countless times to make sure that they receive their ballot.
Voting shouldn’t be this hard. It should be simple, easy and user friendly. Have we not learned our lessons from history?
Are you struggling to apply and receive your absentee ballots? Let’s chat. Because this is in fact, a form of voter suppression.