UPDATE (10:00 a.m.) — Don’t let transportation troubles hinder your access to the polls. There are free and discounted options available.
The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 6. Not sure where you’re supposed to vote? The Tompkins County Board of Elections has a handy map that allows local residents to find their polling place, district information and elected representatives.
Transportation issues were cited as a reason 3 percent of people did not get out to vote in the 2016 election, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. And the issue is more prominent for younger voters, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement found.
But there are options for people without transportation to get to the polls.
Gadabout is offering free rides to any polling station in Tompkins County on election day. Anyone with a transportation barrier on election day can request a ride. They do ask that people who are interested in a ride make a reservation by the end of the business day Friday, Nov. 2. To reserve a seat, call 607-273-1878. They will be offering limited service for same-day requests, so people are encouraged to reserve ahead of time.
The Cornell community can catch a free shuttle to off-campus polling places, funded by the Andrew Goodman Foundation. The shuttle will loop through polling locations at Belle Sherman, TST BOCES, First Congregational, Fall Creek and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, with pick-ups at multiple campus locations. It will run at 15 to 20 minute intervals from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Full route and schedule information is available from Cornell’s Public Service Center.
People balancing voting with childcare can get help from Parents2Polls Tompkins, an informal volunteer group coordinating short-term childcare and rides to polls. Volunteers will be offering babysitting at the Southside Community Center for kids ages 3 to 12, as well as help at polling place parking lots for parents with kids in the car. Those interested in using these services or volunteering can reach out to the group through this Google form.
Uber and Lyft are offering discounted rates to people across the country, including in Tompkins County.
In a statement, Zachary Kizer, communications specialist for Lyft, said the company is committing to providing 50 percent off rides across the country to encourage voter turnout. Kizer advised local residents to use this promo code featured on Buzzfeed.
Uber is also running a promotion. On the app, users will find a “Get to the Polls Button” on Nov. 6 that will help people find their polling place and book a ride to go vote. Uber has also partnered with #VoteTogether and DemocracyWorks to offer free rides to the polls. The codes for Uber have not been released yet, but they will be available soon. Anyone interested in getting a code should email DemocracyWorks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as always, the Tompkins County Democratic Committee will offer free rides (regardless of party). Call 607-266-7579 to set one up.
The Tompkins County Board of Elections has sample ballots and other information available on their website.