In the 2016 general election, it's estimated that about 40% of American voters didn't cast a ballot. And according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, about 15 million of those people didn't make it out to the polls because of transportation issues. To help address this, Lyft is offering free rides to voters who couldn't otherwise make it to a polling station, starting with the Iowa Caucus on Feb. 3 and running up until Election Day on Nov. 3.
According to the company's Jan. 31 blog post, Lyft believes that every citizen who wants to exercise their fundamental right to vote should have reliable, affordable access to the polls — regardless of income, age, zip code, or political affiliation. That's why it's revamping its program from two years prior to help create even more ways to support voters who need help getting to a polling station.
In 2018, the ride-sharing company gave customers 50% off rides on Election Day. But in this year's new and improved program, Lyft is offering more discounts and more time to use them. According to the blog post announcing the program, the company will give free and discounted rides for the entirety of the primary calendar as well as for the general election. A handful of nonprofit organizations dedicated to aiding underserved communities are partnering up with Lyft to help make it all possible. These organizations include the League of Women Voters, the National Federation of the Blind, the Student Veterans of America, the National Urban League, and the Voto Latino Foundation.
While previous versions of the Voter Access Program provided all customers with a public ride code, this year Lyft is using its connections with these partnered nonprofits to allocate ride codes to those that need them most.
Lyft's dedication to providing free and discounted rides is part of its Voter Access Program, an initiative that stems from the company's LyftUp project. LyftUp provides underprivileged and under-resourced communities with rides to help them access basic needs. Along with providing rides to polling locations, LyftUp also gives customers in need rides to job interviews and training, grocery stores, and urgent services in case of natural disasters. The initiative is aimed at helping people get to where they need to go, regardless of their age, income, or home address.
As part of LyftUp's Round Up option, users can donate money to the organizations funding the Voter Access Program and other free-ride programs. By tapping "Donate" in the menu of your Lyft apps, you can opt to "round up" each of your rides so that your change can be used as a donation. Just by donating a few cents every ride, you can possibly help increase voter turnout numbers in 2020.
Whether you need a ride or want to help someone get a ride, Lyft has got you covered this election season.