Lyft-ing Up Democracy

By Gilli Mistry | November 6, 2020

On Election Day there are always so many voters and citizens, especially ones with lower-incomes, who have a difficult time finding a way to get to the polls. They might have kids or a job, they might not have access to a car, or they might not have the money to pay for the bus. There are so many obstacles that get in the way of voters making their voice heard. It's estimated that 15 million eligible voters didn’t make it to the polls in 2016 because they didn’t have a ride. This is suppressing voters of the communities that are being most affected by the outcomes of these elections, so how can we give them a chance to change that?

Well this year, Lyft decided to make lives a little easier for some of those eligible voters. Knowing that one of the biggest reasons people lack transportation is because of financial issues, Lyft offered 50% off discounts for riders going to the polls. This helps a lot of people who live in areas without reliable transportation as well as families who can’t pay the regular price of a lyft. However, their commitment didn’t stop there. Lyft partnered with many organizations, one of which being Black Women’s Roundtable. Black Women’s Roundtable believes that “There must be intentional efforts, including program development, funding, staffing, administrative practice and rule of law to ensure genuine equity -- especially for women, communities of color, low income communities and others that have been traditionally left out of the policymaking arena”. This is why they worked with Lyft to get transportation into predominantly black communities that didn’t have access to cheap transportation.

Not only is Lyft helping voters physically get to the polls but it’s also helping them learn what to do before they get there. Lyft has partnered with several organizations including “When We All Vote” and “Vote.org” to help their users register and learn how to vote. Since Lyft is such a commonly used platform, it’s reaching a lot of people and eligible voters.

It’s so important for everyone’s vote to be counted, and there should be nothing standing in the way of that, especially basic things like transportation. Lyft’s attempts to help voters is very admirable, and hopefully we see more major companies following in Lyft’s footsteps, using their platform to help educate people on how to vote. We can already see there were a lot more people at the polls this election, and I bet some of those votes were made possible because of Lyft.