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A 94-year-old traveled over 300 miles each way just to vote. This is not a success story.

Voter suppression forced Mildred Madison to travel from Illinois to Michigan just to cast her vote this year.

A 94-year-old traveled over 300 miles each way just to vote. This is not a success story.
Image Source: Getty Images/ LifestyleVisuals (representative)

Mildred Madison is a 94-year-old woman from Detroit, Michigan. When she did not receive her absentee ballot, she decided to travel 330 miles one way to vote early and in person. She has been living with her son Julian Madison in Zion, Illinois, since September 2019 as she was not feeling well. The senior citizen requested for her ballot to be sent to her son's home, but it never arrived. Rather than not voting at all, she did what she could to fulfill her civic duty, CNN reports. "I said I had better go back to Detroit and make sure that I vote," Madison affirmed. "I'm glad I did because I haven't seen a ballot yet."

 



 

 

While this may seem like the story of one woman's determination to execute her responsibility to her country, it is, in fact, a manifestation of the ways our bureaucracy fails its citizens. Voter suppression is a serious problem in the United States. Madison's experience is an example of how poorly designed and implemented voter laws disenfranchise our country's most marginalized voters. Though there is still a chance that her ballot may come in the mail (Madison said the voting office claimed they had sent the ballot), with just about two weeks to go until Election Day, she did not want to take any chances.

 



 

 

 

The 94-year-old set off for Detroit with her son, who drove 600 miles altogether. They left Illinois at 6:30 am on October 12 and reached Detroit's City Hall just before noon. Her son pushed her in a wheelchair so she could make it to the voting line. She cast her vote and made the journey back to her son's home, all in one day. Madison shared, "At least I made it. I made it and voted for the people I wanted to vote for, and I hope they win. But I felt satisfied that I was not going to miss voting."

 



 

 

For Madison, it is incredibly important to vote. She has not missed the opportunity to cast her vote for the past seven decades. She said, "I've been voting in every election, whether it was city, state, county, or national for the last 72 years." It is also a practice she has passed on to her children. Her son Julian Madison explained, "I have four kids, they all vote. All of my mother's grandchildren vote. That was something that was ingrained in all of us and to be politically active and to vote."

 



 

 

 

The nonagenarian had a few closing words for her fellow citizens: "I think this is the most important vote that we've ever had. We must vote. I agree with Michelle Obama when she said go early, stand in line if you have to, take your lunch, your breakfast or lunch or whatever, do that. But make sure that you vote. You just start at 18 and keep on going to until the very end and try to vote in every election. They all count. It's not just for the president but start voting locally, statewide, countywide, and also on the federal level. They all count because the power really starts right there in your community."

 



 

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