From our earliest days in school, we’ve been taught the importance of voting.
“People have died for this right,” we’ve been told. “This is your right as an American.” Voting, then, should be as simple and accessible as possible. This election proved otherwise.
At a house on College Park, for example, six of the seven residents registered to vote. The remaining resident missed the Ohio voter registration deadline – a full month before the election – by one day.
Of the six registered voters, five chose to vote absentee. Of the five absentee voters, only four absentee ballots were delivered to the house. An Illinois ballot was received with a thick crease, despite a phrase along the lines of “DO NOT BEND” written on the front. All four were sent to the respective county boards of elections – two in Ohio, one in Pennsylvania and Illinois each.
Then, on Election Day, one of the absentee ballots was returned to the house because of a mistake on the ballot. That student had to drive his ballot to the Montgomery County Board of Elections on the day of the election.
The Lucas County Board of Elections, however, gave the residents of this College Park house the most problems. Of the two ballots requested from the Lucas County board, only one made it to the house.
On Nov. 5, the day before the election, the resident who received his ballot called the board with a question regarding the ballot’s due date. After selecting the “Absentee Ballot Questions” touch-tone directory option, and after nearly five minutes of waiting, the phone was answered by a person who seemed to lack the slightest idea of absentee ballot regulations.
The true tragedy, however, was the resident who never received his ballot from the Lucas County board. Faced with driving a total of five hours to Northwest Ohio and back, and using a full tank of gas along the way, the student decided to stay home.
A vote lost in a nation built on voting.
As children, we were taught that every vote matters. That should hold true regardless of whether one votes in the ballot box or the mailbox.