Two DC college students drive almost 30 hours to vote in 2020 election

Zachary Houdek and Meredith Reilly take a selfie on their trip from D.C. to Texas to cast their ballots during early voting.

Meredith Reilly poses on the Texas and Arkansas state line on a 30-hour road trip from D.C. to cast her ballot in the election.

Zachary Houdek and Meredith Reilly take a selfie on their trip from D.C. to Texas to cast their ballots during early voting.

Zachary Houdek poses with his voting sticker after casting his ballot in Texas.

Meredith Reilly poses after casting her ballot in the election in Texas. She traveled with a friend from D.C. to Texas to vote.

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When they didn’t get their absentee ballots, two D.C.-area college students decided to hit the road to ensure their votes were counted.

Meredith Reilly and Zachary Houdek were beyond excited to vote in a presidential election for the first time.

The problem? The absentee ballots they requested never arrived.

“We just kind of looked at each other and I said, ‘Do you want to go to Texas right now?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And we were on the road two hours later,” Reilly told WTOP.

The 20-year-olds, who both are from Texas and attend American University in D.C., rented a car and drove almost 30 hours to get to their early voting locations.

“It was really just like within two hours getting a rental car, packing our bags and hitting the road back to Texas,” Houdek said.

They said it was worth it to cast their ballots for former Vice President Joe Biden.

“It’s not just an election that determines the next four years. It’s an election that could determine outcomes for the rest of our lives,” Houdek said.

Reilly added that she believes it’s an important story to tell because she has heard people have similar issues.

“We have been turning our voter suppression into a voter incentive story,” Reilly said. “Nobody should work this hard to vote.”

It was the first time they were old enough to vote in a presidential election. So, they said they had to make it happen.

“This election is very likely the most important presidential election of our lifetime,” Reilly said.

Houdek said the trip was worth it if it meant their votes were counted.

“Finally being able to go home, even though we had to make the trek across country, felt so relieving and nice to know that we did our part and our civic duty,” Houdek said.

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