Lyft is going to offer half-priced and free rides to polling places around the country on Election Day (November 6).
The ride-hailing giant said that it’s going to give out 50 percent off promotional codes to partners that encourage voter turnout. The company has linked up with Vote.org, Nonprofit VOTE, TurboVote and others to help distribute the codes to anyone who needs them.
On the day of the election the company said it will also provide a product integration that will help voters find their polling places to make it even easier to cast their ballot.
This non-partisan effort to get people to the polls is only becoming more critical. Election officials in one county in Georgia have proposed closing 7 of 9 polling places because they’re not sufficiently accessible for handicapped voters. Having Lyft available to help those voters who would be impacted by the closures (some of whom would have to walk three hours to get to the nearest open polls) could certainly be a boon.
As the company noted in its announcement, there’s a participation problem impacting elections in the U.S. Estimates from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement indicate that roughly 15 million people didn’t vote in the 2016 election because they didn’t have transportation to get to the polls.
The last presidential election was decided by 80,000 votes in three states, so getting out the vote and getting people to the polls clearly matters.
For those underserved communities where the 50 percent discount on rides isn’t enough, the company will provide transportation free of cost through non-partisan, nonprofit organizations like Voto Latino, local affiliates of the Urban League and the National Federation of the Blind.
Beyond just getting people to the polls, Lyft is providing ways for people to register to vote and learn about voting initiatives that are up for approval on election day. Through a partnerships with When We All Vote and National Voter Registration Day the company intends to remind passengers about voter registration deadlines; give drivers voter registration handouts and voter information at Hub locations; offer in-office voter registration for employees; and offer online voter information through the company’s partner organizations.
Voting access is a critical issue in making sure that every American’s voice is heard through the election process. According to studies from the Pew Research Center (cited by Lyft), 46 percent of nonvoters have incomes under $30,000 compared with 19 percent of likely voters. And 43 percent of people unlikely to cast ballots are Hispanic, African American or other minorities, which is double the percentage among likely voters.