Two college students drive 20 hours to cast their ballots in Texas
Two college students in Washington, D.C. drove 20 hours to cast their ballot in Texas after never receiving the mail-in ballots they requested in August.
Twenty-year-olds Meredith Reilly and Zachary Houdek drove nearly 1,400 miles to vote in the Lone Star state after Reilly said that her request for a mail-in ballot was not received by election officials in Tarrant County.
“About a month or so ago, I hadn’t heard anything back, so I checked the website and my request hadn’t been processed,” she said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “My name wasn’t in the system. Nothing.”
Houdek had a similar problem in his hometown in Travis County.
“Neither of us were planning on coming home to Texas for Thanksgiving. We were going to stay in the Northeast,” Reilly said, according to the newspaper. “We just had to make sure our votes counted for the presidential election, as well as down ballot.”
Houdek told CNN that both students had no problems voting through absentee ballots in Texas from The District during the 2018 midterm elections, adding, “this election has been so different, it’s been horrible.”
The two students left the nation’s capital Sunday afternoon, stopping only once to sleep for a few hours in Tennessee before arriving in Fort Worth Monday afternoon.
News of the two students’ arduous trip comes as Texas has become a recent target for former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign. On Friday, Biden’s running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) campaigned and participated in various voter turnout events in the state.
The Cook Political Report, an election handicapper this week moved the presidential race in Texas from “lean Republican” to a “toss up,” and recent polling finds President Trump neck and neck with Biden in a state that he won by over roughly 800,000 votes in 2016.
The students’ story also shows that younger voters, a voting bloc that did not show as much enthusiasm in 2016, is engaged in this election. Over 4 million people between the ages of 18 and 29 have cast their ballot after skipping the voting booths four years ago.
In Texas, over 2 million people who did not vote in the previous presidential election have already voted this year.