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At 94, an American drives 1,000 km to vote


For Mildred Madison, absenteeism has never been an option. In November, whatever the current situation, whatever his particular situation, whatever his 94 springs, his voice will count in the US presidential election. Officially, Mildred Madison is domiciled in Detroit, Michigan. But since September 2019, she has been living with her son Julian in Zion, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, for health reasons. This temporary move was extended by the arrival of the pandemic, with mother and son finding it more relevant to stay together.

With the election approaching, Mildred Madison requests that a mail-in ballot be sent to her son’s home in Illinois. But a few weeks before the election, still nothing. “I said to myself that it would be better to make the trip to Detroit and make sure I could vote,” she told CNN. I’m glad I did, because I still haven’t seen the shadow of a mail-order newsletter! “

28 million votes already recorded

Thus, driven by her son at 6.30 a.m., the old lady traveled the 537 kilometers that separate her from her polling station before leaving where she came from. In total, more than 1,000 kilometers traveled in the same day. Like several million Americans in recent weeks, she was able to vote in advance physically in her city of official residence. According to CNN, 28 million votes, either remotely or in the presence of voters, were recorded as of October 19. This exceptional system due to the coronavirus pandemic gives rise to fears of a contested ballot, Donald Trump assuring that the results could not be known until several months after the vote.

Protected by a mask on which was written “Vote”, advancing on her chair pushed by her son, Mildred Madison caused a sensation in Detroit among those who heard her voice. “At least I did,” she congratulates herself. I did and I voted for those I wanted to vote for and I hope they win. I’m happy to be sure I won’t miss this vote. At the polling station, she was assured that the ballot would eventually reach her home, but now she is reassured. “I have voted in every election over the past 72 years, whether city, state or country,” she adds.

The “most important election we have ever had”

72 years of elections and yet here she is, facing what she calls “the most important election we have ever had”. “We have to vote,” she said. I agree with Michelle Obama when she tells us to go and vote early, to stand in line if necessary, as long as necessary. “

Engaged in democratic life since the schooling of her first child in the 1950s, Mildred Madison became the first African-American woman to chair the League of Women Voters of Cleveland and will help organize the debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan , in Cleveland, 1980. At 94, she hopes to soon publish her memoir and someday open the Mildred Madison Center for Civic Engagement to teach younger people the value of voting and participating in democratic life.


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