Days after the only polling place in Dodge City, Kansas was moved outside of city limits, Lyft and Voto Latino have teamed up to offer rides to voters in the area.
The voting rights organization announced the partnership on Sunday, tweeting, “#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!”
For over 15 years, Dodge City — whose population of 27,000 residents is 60 percent Hispanic — has used its civic center as the one and only polling station. But last month, the Associated Press reported that officials were moving the polls out of town, more than a mile away from the nearest bus stop.
According to the AP, election officials said the move was necessitated because of ongoing road construction in the area. Though voters were alerted of the change and reportedly sent advance voting applications in English and Spanish, the relocation could have a major impact on locals’ ability to cast their votes.
As the Wichita Eagle outlines, Dodge City already has historically low voter turnout. Locals and voter rights organizations have long since protested the use of its single polling site services, which often lead to long lines and increased traffic in that part of town. This year, turnout, particularly among Hispanic voters who tend to vote Democrats, could also have a significant impact on the state’s tight governors’ race between Republican Kris Kobach and Democrat Sen. Laura Kelly.
Under its new partnership with Voth Latino, Lyft will help Dodge City voters cast their ballot by getting them to their new polling location. And that’s not the only city where it’s making voting a little easier. In August, the company revealed it will offer free or discounted rides to the polls on Election Day. Uber is also offering a similar promotion.
Transportation issues have had a significant impact on voter turnout in past elections, particularly in underserved communities. As Lyft pointed out on its company blog earlier this year, an estimated 15 million people were registered to vote in 2016, but didn’t because they weren’t able to get the polls.
Per Voto Latino, the Lyft rides in Dodge City will also be co-sponsored by Steve Madden and Johnnie Walker. Additional funds are also being raised through Act Blue.
Cover image via Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock.com.