Disability/Handicap, Family

Why Was My Sickly Mother Refused Her Right to Vote?

*Update on the Update:

I got so much help finding answers and I really am thankful to everyone! It gave my mom enough hope to try and we did come out and she did get to vote!! Have I told you all how amazing you are❤😍 Now we will just pray she stays healthy and everyone else too!!🙏🙏🙏

Update: A savvy friend told me I could look up her registration status online and I did just that! It took me less than 2 minutes from the time she said I could, for me to find the website and locate her active voter status. My mom tried for weeks to get a mail-in ballot by calling in to the local voting office several times and by mailing in 2 mail-in ballot requests and she received no mail-in ballots.

As it stands she will not be risking her health by going out in public to vote today. It makes me sad that she was unable to vote in this election but I stand by her decision to stay home and stay healthy.

I am not pleased with my local voting office and I hope that they manage to do a better job in the future. I hope that being able to locate mom’s status online will help me to get her a mail-in ballot in the future. I would hope this solves the problem but at the end of the day I am still unsure it would have. I mean they chose to send me a mail-in ballot twice when it was my mom applying for one with her own information. Obviously there is an issue with matching information and the inability to correct the mistake in time to get votes to the polls is disturbing.

***If you ever find yourself in a similar situation in Pennsylvania visit this website*** https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/Pages/voterregistrationstatus.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2vZ2EVJuH_Wz5nSpC9nGLM6c7LEFU8VITS7GhdCnIG9wr_yTSOW4DwCgY

Click Here to Look for Your State

My mom has been a registered voter in Pennsylvania ever since I can remember.

My family has always taken voting very seriously and I absolutely understand why but I still feel like votes aren’t counted in a way that makes my vote particularly important. I don’t feel committed to a specific party, and my mom has consistently voted for a specific party for many years. I will not be discussing our political leanings further than this, I just wanted to give you some background that will help explain why we are confused at her not receiving a mail-in ballot.

So my mom, Kate, submitted her request super early when she learned that they were sending out mail-in ballots. She is on oxygen therapy and can’t walk more than a few steps without risking a fall and to be without her oxygen tank is a serious emergency. She already struggles to breath on a good day so going into a crowded polling place and risking corona virus seemed like a terrible idea. She is the most vulnerable member in our family and if she gets sick it would have a devastating impact on her health.

So she sent in her ballot request and helped my brother send in his and she got confirmation that she would receive the ballots. She received his but never got hers. Then we got a mail-in ballot for me and I had not requested one. Now my mom and I have the same name aside from our middle initial so we thought this was just another moment of name confusion and we had plenty of time to request another ballot.

So my mom requests another mail-in ballot making sure to specify that middle initial that differentiates us. The said they would send it out ASAP! I received a 2nd mail-in ballot. At this point we couldn’t figure out if our local location was just making the same mistake over and over, or if they are trying to pull something because she is a register member of a specific party.

She calls in again, I can’t even count how many times my mom has talked to the people in this office. This time she is even more specific and asks them please don’t send another mail-in ballot to my daughter, we are 2 separate people. This is the moment she is told that she is no longer on the registered voter list, 1 week before the primary election.

We can’t do a thing to help my mom get her vote counted in this very important election. She feels like this will be the last primary she ever sees and it’s super frustrating for her because she has been registered to vote all these years and was never notified that she had been removed from any list. How would she know she would have to re-register to vote long before the primary?

Someone removed my mom’s name from the registered voter’s list without notifying her and it was pretty devastating to her. She was frustrated and took to facebook like many people do to vent her frustrations. She didn’t call anyone out she just said that she tried several times to get a mail-in ballot and was unable to receive one. Well facebook notified her that it was making her post private 5 minutes later so no one but her would be able to see it. You gotta love that all this fake news can spread like wildfire but my lovely mother can’t even tell the story about how she was unable to vote because of _________.

We still don’t know exactly why she can’t vote. Is the list wrong? Did they remove one of our names because they thought we were the same person? You’d think they’d have checked middle initials and social security numbers before they did that. Anyway my mom can’t vote this year and the frustration of it all is burning her up. The fact that facebook, where she vents to her friends, took down her post was also incredibly frustrating.

I told her I would tell her story. I know there is no guarantee that this post will ever see the light of day. Algorithms, developed by someone, still boost posts or hide them in a dark closet somewhere never to be seen again. I did want to make her story known though. It was important to her that people know that not everyone who wanted to vote was able to.

There is no way this mistake should have been made without her knowing about it much sooner. We are hopeful this didn’t happen to anyone else but just in case it did we want to know why, and how we can stop it from affecting other elections in the future.

Generally I stay out of politics all together because it is a space filled with aggression and I just want to help people. This situation was completely unfair to my mom though and she was frustrated by the fact that she couldn’t get any answers as to why and she was unable to cast her vote.

She plans to re-register to vote ASAP but to not get a vote in the primary is very depressing for her. I would love for her to be able to get some answers on this. I imagine she will be reaching out to her representative shortly but I doubt he will know anything more that the voting office did.

This seemed like an important story to tell as it did really have a negative affect on my mother’s mental health. Heck the entire lead up to this election did and I will be so glad when this calms down and we all stop receiving political texts and calls everyday. Bring back regular commercials! In the future you will probably notice that I actively try not to talk about politics but when it’s important to someone I love I tell their story.

I hope that if you were wanting to vote in this election that you were able to. Good luck and good health to those of you voting in person today!

Thanks for reading!

Kat

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