PHOENIX – Aki Braun once took an Amtrak from Chicago to Milwaukee and back just to submit a vote. The 30-year-old computer programmer said she now feels voting is no longer an option because of security concerns.
“The states can’t be trusted to keep their voter files safe,” Braun said. “Until states start taking information security seriously, I don’t ever feel like I’ll be able to register to vote.”
Braun is passionate about politics – she once lived in Chicago for a year to work on the Barack Obama campaign – but she said she won’t vote in the foreseeable future.
Braun has described herself as an outspoken feminist and frequently tweets about equal rights and politics.
Pet peeve of semantics: Women in USA in 1920 didn’t *earn* the right to vote. We always had the right. Women defeated a type of oppression.
— Aki the Conqueror (@gesa) June 18, 2016
But others have heckled her on social media, and she fears particular heated harassers might find her home address leaked online from her voter registration information.
“Since voter rolls aren’t safe or confidential, I am not (registered) to vote at my new address,” Braun said. “Online harassment has disenfranchised me.”
When she lived in Chicago in 2012, she was still registered at her former address in Milwaukee. Braun said she requested an absentee ballot and followed up twice, but she still didn’t have a ballot by election day.
Braun’s boss convinced her to leave work to go vote in Milwaukee.
Braun boarded an Amtrak train at 8 a.m. and arrived in Milwaukee about two hours later. By lunchtime, she was back at her desk in Chicago.
“That was a tough day. My whole trip was five hours, and I went straight back to work,” Braun said. “I was in my hometown for a grand total of 45 minutes.”
This story was informed by a source in the Public Insight Network. Share your voting experience here.