Two College Kids Drove 20 Hours to Vote in Texas
Usually when two college friends go on a cross-country road trip, it's to "find themselves" or get to a music festival. This time, it wasn't a journey of self-discovery, but a trip home to exercise their right to vote.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that 20-year-old Arlington native Meredith Reilly, currently a student at American University in Washington D.C., planned to vote by mail. She says she applied for an absentee ballot back in August, but it never arrived.
Reilly tells KXAS-TV that when she didn't hear back from the Tarrant County Elections Administration, she and a family member checked their website and discovered that there was no record of her request.
"[T]hey had not received my absentee ballot request, or hadn’t processed it,” Reilly said. Reilly, who studies political science, says she's never had a problem with receiving an absentee ballot before, and used one to vote in the midterms.
Reilly's friend, Austin native Zachary Houdek, had the same problem, so the two of them decided to rent a car and take a 20-hour, 1,400 mile drive to the Lone Star State to cast their ballots.
“This is one of the most monumental elections," Houdek said. "Probably the most important election some of us will have in our lifetime. It was something we couldn’t just sit out."
The two say they left D.C. Sunday and loaded up on caffeine to stay alert. They would switch seats every few hours, and only made one stop to sleep in Tennessee. They made it to Fort Worth Monday afternoon.
Both students were able to make it to their counties to vote, and say they were able to get class work done online. They're now visiting family here in Texas, and plan to drive back to D.C. on Friday.
KSAT-TV reports that the youth vote in Texas is up by over 600% this year, so it's not surprising that two young Texans would make such a long trek to cast their ballots.
Not only does this mean young people are more engaged than they often get credit for, but it also shows that there's no excuse for the rest of us not getting out there and voting.
You can still cast a ballot early today and Friday, and election day is Tuesday, November 3.