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This 94-year-old traveled more than 300 miles each way just so she could vote

When a Michigan 94-year-old didn’t receive her absentee ballot, she took her civic duty to the next level.


Mildred Madison insisted that she had to vote early and in person instead, but to make that happen, her son had to drive her more than 600 miles round trip.

Madison, who lives in Detroit, has been staying with her son, Julian, in Zion, Illinois, since September 2019, when she wasn’t feeling well. She decided to stay put when the pandemic happened, and requested a ballot be sent to Illinois, she said.

“I said I had better go back to Detroit and make sure that I vote,” Madison told CNN Monday. “I’m glad I did because I haven’t seen a ballot yet.”

CNN reached out to the Detroit Department of Elections for comment but has not heard back.

More than 28 million general election ballots have been cast as of Monday, according to a survey of election officials by CNN, Edison Research, and Catalist. In Michigan, more than 1.3 million people have already cast their votes as of Monday, according to Catalist data.

While there’s still a chance the ballot may come in the mail — and Madison said the voting office said they had sent the ballot — she didn’t want to take any chances.

The mother-son duo set off for Detroit around 6:30 a.m. on October 12 and made it to Detroit’s City Hall just before noon, she said. The drive was about 330 miles each way — and they did it all in one day.

Donning a black mask with the word “vote” on it, Madison arrived ready to vote. Her son pushed her in a wheelchair to get her to the voting line.

“At least I made it,” Madison said with a laugh. “I made it and voted for the people I wanted to vote for, and I hope they win. But I felt satisfied that I was not going to miss voting.”

Mildred Madison, as seen in high school in 1944, has a long history of activism and politics.

Not missing a vote is a big deal to Madison.

“I’ve been voting in every election, whether it was city, state, county or national for the last 72 years,” she said.

Julian Madison said he knew driving to Detroit was a possibility when the ballot didn’t arrive in the mail.

“I have four kids, they all vote. All of my mother’s grandchildren vote,” he said. “That was something that was engrained in all of us and to be politically active and to vote.”

Left to right, Julian, Carol, Roberta, Sharon, pose with their parents Midred and Julian Sr. in…

Christina Zdanowicz, CNN

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