Dogged voter Dominique Williams made it to Boston in time to vote


Domonique Williams, 27, stands near her workplace in L'Enfant Plaza on Thursday in Washington. Williams, a student from Boston, had to spend $289.60 to fly to Boston on election day to vote. (Jahi Chikwendiu/WASHINGTON POST)

Stop worrying.

Domonique made it.

Yes, that Domonique — Domonique Williams, the unusually dogged American voter who hopped a plane from Washington to Boston in hopes of getting to the polls on Tuesday after her absentee ballot didn’t show up in time. Williams, who is 27 and had moved to Washington for a temporary contract job as an administrative assistant at the Federal Aviation Administration, was so determined to vote that she bought a $289.60 plane ticket that she really couldn’t afford.

The trip was a last-minute solution to weeks of frustration — phone call after phone call after phone call to election authorities — and pique over the fact that two of her friends hadn’t received their absentee ballots, either. Williams’s inspiration came from her 91-year-old great-grandmother, Edna Murrell, who is African American and grew up in the South during an era of disenfranchisement and voter intimidation.

On Tuesday, Williams’s voting adventure turned excellent. Her plane touched down in time and she went to the polls in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston with her mother and grandmother. On the way, she stopped off in Newton to hand-deliver an absentee ballot for one of her friends — who had forgotten to mail it.

Ever since The Washington Post ran a story about Williams — which went to press before she arrived at her polling place — we’ve been hearing from readers who were touched by her story and intrigued about how it may have ended. Some have even offered to pay all or part of her airfare.

“For the little old ladies who remember all these battles — for civil rights, women’s rights, for equal pay — it means so much to see a young person who appreciates how important these rights are,” a reader named Gail Wade wrote.

Williams volunteered as a canvasser for President Obama’s campaign and was eager to vote on Tuesday for Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who won. Williams said she cared deeply about the outcome of both campaigns. What she didn’t anticipate was that anyone would care deeply about her, one American voter on what turned out to be an unusual quest.

“Hopefully folks will keep this story in mind the next time they’re faced with something as trivial as long lines at the polls!” she wrote in an e-mail.

She signed off with a smiley face.

Manuel Roig-Franzia is a writer in The Washington Post’s Style section. His long-form articles span a broad range of subjects, including politics, power and the culture of Washington, as well as profiling major political figures and authors.
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