This election matters. We need to hear from everyone.
Rock the Vote! … Get out the Vote! … Vote or Die.
By now, you probably feel like you’ve heard every catchy slogan there is about how important it is to make your voice heard on Election Day.
And for many of us, we have a plan. Voting is a relatively simple endeavor.
Finagle an hour or two away from the office, drive to our local polling place, grab a patriotic sticker on the way out, and boom, we’re done.
But for others, getting to the polls isn’t quite so simple.
That’s why there’s a ton of amazing work being done behind the scenes, all over the country, to make sure everyone’s voice gets heard in one of the most critical elections our country has ever faced.
Here are some of my favorite stories of people who are helping other people get to the polls this year.
With this election, even small plans could make a big difference.
1. In North Carolina, one organization is making sure LGBTQ voters don’t get left behind.
Jasmine Beach-Ferrara works with an organization called the Campaign for Southern Equality out of North Carolina. Election season is a huge, important challenge for them.
“LGBTQ people live in every town across the South. About one-third of LGBTQ people live in the South,” she said. “Yet we’re incredibly underrepresented in every level of government.”
This year, her organization partnered with a queer- and trans-friendly health center for low-income folks in Asheville, where free shuttles have been taking about a dozen people a day to early voting locations.
That may not sound like a lot, but for a group that so desperately needs to be heard, every voice counts.
2. In a nearby town, both political parties are offering to drive anyone to the polls, regardless of party affiliation.
There’s been a lot of talk this year about rigged elections and media bias, but at least in one part of the country, some people still remember what democracy is all about: Everyone gets an equal say about what’s best for our nation.
Both the local Democratic and Republican parties in Buncombe County, North Carolina, have gotten in on the action of offering rides to the polls for anyone who asks.
“We’ve taken Democrats. We’ve taken Republicans. We’ll take anyone who asks,” said Nathan West, the county Republican Party chair. “We just want to make sure everyone has the opportunity.”
3. In Pennsylvania, one school has a cool idea for getting college students to the polls.
Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, had a fleet of shuttles ready to take students to the closest polling place. The only problem was, there wasn’t anyone to drive them all.
So a bunch of professors volunteered.
Jacqueline Joyce, a sophomore, said she’ll be using the professor-driven service to get to the polls on Nov. 8. Her parents could have picked her up and driven her to the polling place near her home, about 25 miles away, but she said other students might not have had that option.
“This mobilizes students to actually go vote because there’s someone driving them around. Unless you’re really politically engaged, I don’t know how bothered people would be to walk,” she said. “Walking and driving are totally different things.”
As far as she’s concerned, any barrier that can be removed, no matter how small, is a good thing for voter turnout.
4. In Corpus Christi, Texas, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Asheville, North Carolina, local governments are waiving bus fares on Election Day to encourage voters to show up.
5. In many jails around the country, voting officials are stopping by to help non-felon inmates be a part of the democratic process.
And the stories don’t stop there either.
We’ve heard it a million times, but it’s worth saying again: This election matters. The stakes are high. We need to come together as a country and make the right decision for the future of our world as we know it.
The fate of the nation can’t only be left to the people who have cars and can afford to take a half-day off of work, so bravo to all the people fighting hard to make sure each one of us has a way to get to the polls.
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