NAACP partners with Lyft for Election Day rides

The NAACP has partnered with ride-hailing company Lyft to help drive voters to the polls on Election Day.

The 2024 Lyft Up Voting Access Program will share critical voting access information and provide free and discounted rides to the polls. It will also help riders and drivers register, prepare to vote and understand voting ID requirements.

“During a time where our most sacred right to vote is under attack, we must fight back with every tool at our disposal,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO, in a statement.

For many advocates, access to ballot boxes is a top priority going into November.

Though 2020 saw record voter turnout, a number of states have since passed legislation making it harder to vote.

Some states have reduced drop box access. There have also been limitations placed on mail-in ballots.

Advocates like the NAACP have argued these laws disproportionately affect Black voters.

“For many Americans, especially Black Americans, accessible and affordable transportation continues to impede access to the ballot box,” Johnson said. “The NAACP is proud to continue working with our partners at Lyft to create pathways to the polls through free and low-cost rideshare services. Together, we will make sure every vote is counted and every voice is heard.”

The biennial non-partisan Lyft Up Voting Access Program has been in place for a decade. In that time, the company said, it has helped more than 3 million people exercise their right to vote. It hopes to grow the program’s ride volume by 25 percent this year by offering discounted and free rides to polling places.

A 2021 study from professors at Harvard and Boston Universities found that 66 percent of voters with access to a car voted in the 2018 general election, compared to only 36 percent who did not.

“Every American citizen should be able to exercise their right to vote without worrying about the cost or difficulty of getting to the polls,” Lyft CEO David Risher said. “Everyone — from a driver who’s given a thousand rides to a rider who hasn’t taken her first one yet — deserves to have their voice heard at the polls. Our Voting Access Program is a great way Lyft can be a force for good.”

This year, the company is also targeting young voters in particular.

In addition to the NAACP, Lyft has partnered with Levi Strauss & Co. and Showtime/MTV to form a new coalition aimed at mobilizing community college students.

One study found that though community college students accounted for about one-third of U.S. college students in 2020, the demographic’s voting rate was nearly 10 percentage points lower than that for students at four-year universities.

Other nonprofit partners included in this year’s program include the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) and the Hispanic Federation, among others.

These partners will be given ride codes to then distribute directly to people in their networks whom they identify as most in need of transportation.

The codes can be used for Lyft rides to polling locations, including registered dropbox locations.

“The right to vote is one of the most quintessential rights that is afforded to American citizens,” said Shavon Arline-Bradley, president and CEO of NCNW. “The Black community and women have historically experienced the ills of voter suppression. NCNW proudly stands to advance this collaboration to ensure that no barriers prohibit any eligible voter the opportunity to exercise their right to participate in our democracy.”

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