Less than a week after the sole polling place in Dodge City, Kansas was moved outside city limits, corporate sponsors are pledging to help voters get to the polls.
Since 2002, Dodge City had one polling place for its 27,000 residents: at the civic center. But ahead of next month’s election, officials moved it outside of the city, to a location that is more than a mile from the nearest bus stop.
The city is 60% Hispanic, a group which has historically low voter turnout rates, but is even lower in Dodge City. In a state where Hispanic voters, who tend to vote Democratic, could play a key role in the governor’s race, poor turnout could have wide implications.
Transportation issues, particularly amongst underserved communities, can play a key role in an individual’s decision not to vote. In 2016, an estimated 15 million people were registered but didn’t vote because they couldn’t get to the polls.
So on Sunday, Latino activist group Voto Latino announced that it was partnering with Lyft to help bring Dodge City voters to their new polling place. The organization announced the partnership in a tweet, writing, “#DodgeCity #Kansas, is a Latinx -majority city that has had it’s ONLY polling location moved outside of city limits w/out access by public transportation. So we’re partnering w @lyft to provide rides to the polls!”
Voto Latino said Steve Madden and Johnnie Walker were also sponsoring the rides, along with additional funds being raised through Act Blue.
This is not Lyft’s first foray into getting out the vote come November. Both Lyft and its competitor Uber are offering free and discounted rides to the polls on Election Day.