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No Car? No Worries. Free Rides To Polls Offered On Election Day

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Alachua County voters without a ride have a few different options to get to the polls on Election Day.

The Alachua County Democratic Party will be giving rides to voters as needed — regardless of political affiliation.

All they need to do, party chair Cynthia Chestnut said, is call 352-373-1730 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day, and a time and place for pick-up will be scheduled.

“We’ve had good participation in previous years,” Chestnut said, adding that only one person had scheduled as of Monday morning. “My hope is that we are flooded with phone calls tomorrow.”

The party’s 12 volunteer drivers will be providing their own cars to take voters from their homes or elsewhere to their registered precinct and back.

In addition to offering rides, the party gives voters written recommendations — called “slate cards” — for candidates, Chestnut said.

Chestnut Funeral Home — owned by Chestnut’s husband, Charles — will also be giving rides from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. To schedule an appointment there, voters should call 352-372-2537.

Meanwhile, the Alachua County Republican Party will also be offering rides to voters of any political affiliation from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., party volunteer Delena May said. Those interested should register by calling 352-373-8500 or 352-275-5003.

While the party doesn’t pre-schedule rides or have a specific ride program, its volunteers will assist any voter in need, May said.

“If anyone calls the Republican headquarters, someone will get them a ride immediately,” she said.

The party doesn’t distribute slate cards or anything similar to riders, May said.

“We want everyone to get out and vote,” she said, “but we don’t tell them how to vote. We hope voters are informed enough to think for themselves.”

Alachua County voters have other options still.

The NAACP is offering rides from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters should call 352-870-7013 or 352-246-1776 to schedule one from the team of 30 to 40 volunteer drivers.

“We’re non-partisan, so we support people who support our efforts. And we can’t tell them who to vote for,” said Evelyn Foxx, Alachua County’s NAACP chapter leader. “We just want them to vote.”

In addition to the free rides, Foxx said the chapter will have a team lawyers available for any voters who come across problems at the polls.

“I don’t anticipate us having voter fraud or voter intimidation,” she said, “so we just hope all goes smooth in Alachua County for us. However, [the lawyers] are available and will be on site at locations tomorrow starting at 7 a.m.”

The car service Uber is offering $20 off rides to polling stations for first-time Uber users. For the discount, voters should enter the code “VOTETODAY” when they use the Uber app.

Other local governments in Florida — including the city of Tallahassee and Hillsborough and Pasco counties — are set to offer free rides through public transportation on Election Day.

But the Gainesville Regional Transit System won’t be, spokesman Chip Skinner said.

“RTS will be running as usual with no charter services available for Election Day,” he said by phone Monday.

 

Free rides to the polls:

Alachua County Democratic Party
8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
352-373-1730

Alachua County Republican Party
8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
352-373-8500 or 352-275-5003

Chestnut Funeral Home
8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
352-372-2537

NAACP
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
352-870-7013 or 352-246-1776

Uber
$20 certificate for first-time Uber riders who use promo code “VOTETODAY”
Download Uber app on smartphone

WUFT News reporter Ramsey Touchberry contributed to this report.

About Catherine Dickson

Catherine is a reporter for WUFT News. She can be reached at news@wuft.org or 352-392-6397.

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