Thank you, D.C. Board of Elections, for making voting easier: I dedicate my favorite rap song to you

As I awoke today, preparing myself for another workday by listening to music, one of my favorite songs “Foldin Clothes” by J. Cole had me “feeling like best version of me so happy,” just one of the great lyrics from the rap song.

Why was I so happy? I got an email from the D.C. Board of Elections describing voting procedures that were much easier than in my home state of Louisiana, which recently passed an election plan that limits who has access to mail-in ballots. The email invited me, a new resident to Washington, to request a mail-in ballot for the 2020 election cycle which could be done one of six ways: online, email, fax, mail, phone, or in person.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk about voting. My dissertation examined the history of voting in America, including how the ghosts of lynchings still suppress the black vote in this country today. With all that’s going on to suppress minorities from voting—most recently the outrage of the Supreme Court’s refusal to extend the deadline for mail-in voting in Wisconsin in the middle of the pandemic—it’s been exhausting to keep beating the voting rights drum.

Every time I mention the importance of updating our voting methods, I am met with opposition. “You want people to vote by mail?! ONLINE?! There is no way it can be done securely,” many say. Regardless of the evidence I’ve provided that it has already been done securely in several states, people still resist the idea of adding more voting options nationally.

Well, turns out it’s not that difficult after all. D.C., which has had its own voting issues, is trying to make the process easier.

So, I’m dedicating “Foldin Clothes” to the D.C. elections leadership because they’re “doing the right thing.” I was able to download the Vote 4 DC app and it “felt so much better than doing the wrong thing” of not using the latest technology to make voting more accessible. To my surprise, this app allowed me to request a mail-in-ballot in less than two minutes! Having several options to request a ballot, including online options, “saved me some time and alleviated stress from my mind” of having to vote in person during a pandemic.

Allowing D.C. residents to request a no-excuse absentee ballot accompanied by offering several ways to request the ballot allows residents to vote safely. Just think of the things we can do while voting safely from our homes: “watching Netflix catching up on our shows, eating breakfast Raisin Bran in my bowl with bananas and some almond milk.” This “simple thing” from the D.C. Board of Elections, “said I love you” to so many D.C. residents by putting our safety first.

To the D.C. Board of Elections, thank you for “seeing that we have a lot on our plate” and finding several ways to update our voting methods. “I see the sun now and maybe everything is gone be alright. I wanna fold clothes for you.