In a recent public relations effort to publicize their low cost and no-cost rides to the polls (an admirable effort considering some of the barriers of distance being erected this election) the company has been touting the statistic that 15 million eligible voters did not vote in 2016 because of transportation issues. The actual quotation from their blog post is, “It is estimated that over 15 million people were registered but didn’t vote in 2016 because of transportation issues.” Hmmm. Passive voice. That’s never good. But there is a foot note.
Turns out, Lyft is extrapolating the number from a study of young voters conducted by the Center for Information Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (and organization whose mission and purpose conveniently create an acronym, CIRCLE) where in a large percentage of young, eligible voters cited a lack of transportation as their reason for not voting.
The issue of the barrier of distance is no stranger to Omaha Elections. In 2012, then Election Commissioner, Dave Phipps, closed 32% of the county’s polling places before public outcry forced him to reopen many of them. Mode Shift encourages all eligible voters to make a plan for getting to the polls for those planning on voting in person on election day. Whether you are going to walk, ride a bike, take a bus or ride in a car, it’s important that your voice be heard.
First, find your polling place at www.votedouglascounty.com
For those who need a ride to the polls, there are many organizations willing and able to coordinate a ride for you to get to the polls.
- Black Votes Matter is providing rides to polls in North Omaha, 402-312-2891
- Uber and Lyft are proving free or reduced rate rides to the poll
- Heartland Workers Center 402-933-6095
- Douglas County Democratic Party
If any other organizations are offering rides to the poll, please let us know and we will add you to the list. Most important: VOTE. We won’t elect the best representatives of our community if only some of us are making the choices.