COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - There are still a few days left to return your absentee ballots, vote in-person absentee or head to the polls on Election Day. If transportation is an issue, multiple organizations are stepping up to ensure everyone is able to exercise their right to vote and they say not having a ride should not get in the way.
You can catch the COMET to vote. The transit company is already offering rides free of charge because of the pandemic.
Now, they’ve added several satellite polling locations to their routes for in-person absentee voting. You can also arrange a ride to your polling place on Election Day.
Various local organizations are also offering free rides to the polls. Carolina for All is a nonprofit which partners with community groups, churches and local NAACP chapters to provide free transportation to the polls to anyone who may need it.
Melissa Jenkins is the president of the Lower Richland NAACP branch.
She says, “The reason why we started doing this is because Lower Richland, as you know, is in a rural area and sometimes the elderly people in the area have a hard time getting rides to the polls. So, we want to make it possible for everyone that wants to vote or that is registered to vote to be able to get out and vote and let their vote be their voice.”
Remember, election officials say, at this point, putting your absentee ballot in the mail could be cutting it close putting it in jeopardy of arriving in time to be counted. You can still drop off those absentee ballots in person and if you need a ride, help is available.
According to a Pew Research Center study, more than 7 million Americans say they did not vote in the 2016 presidential election because of transportation issues.
Jenkins says several constituents she’s talked to have complained of the same issue.
“When I’ve spoken with people in the community, they’ve said they didn’t vote because they didn’t have transportation. So, we decided with previous elections that this was a need in the community,” said Jenkins.
The NAACP president adds that helping with this issue is part of what her organization represents, saying, “It is the civic engagement. That is what we do, make sure people get out and vote. We have several people that are ready and willing to give rides to the polls.”
To reach Carolina for All, call 843-890-2992.
To reach the Lower Richland NAACP, call 803-237-7191.
Several large transportation companies are also helping to make sure voters get to the polls. Hertz, Uber and Lyft are offering discounted rides this Election Day, November 3, 2020.
For more information regarding routes, please visit www.catchthecomet.org/routes or call 803.255.7100.