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In the 2016 presidential election, nearly 100 million people—almost half of the eligible voting population in the country—did not vote.
The 100 Million Project, a comprehensive national study of the non-voting adult population in the U.S., reported that in a survey of more than 12,000 of these chronic nonvoters, researchers found that the most common reason non-voters do not vote is that they don’t like the candidates. The second most likely reason is that they do not believe their vote matters.
But it seems that in 2020, more voters believe that their vote matters. The 100 Million Project found that more than half of non-voters say the 2020 presidential elections are the most important election of their lifetimes and over 70 percent of non-voters surveyed are planning to vote this time.
If their prediction proves to be true, the polls could see a greater turnout than ever seen in elections past. Alto, a Dallas-based ride-share program, wants to do their part to get voters to the polls on election day by offering free rides to the polls on Election Day.
“We all believe this is an important election season,” Alto CEO Will Coleman says. “We want do our part to get voters out.”
Alto observed other organizations doing what they could to create opportunities to vote. The American Airlines Center, where the Dallas Mavericks play, for example, will serve as a polling location in Dallas County.
“We started having discussions with the team on how to help,” Coleman says. “We have a fleet and drivers, and people need help getting there.” For a rideshare program, free rides to the polls was the answer.
Alto, which began operations in Dallas about 18 months ago, has a fleet of more than 100 vehicles, the majority of which are in the DFW area. They also operate in Houston and soon in Los Angeles. All their cars are outfitted with plexiglass barriers and are maintained and owned by Alto.
Alto isn’t the only transport service trying to incentivize voters to get to the polls. DART, as it has in election years past, will provide free rides to Dallas County voters on Oct. 17, Oct. 24, and Nov. 3 to the American Airlines Center on the Green or Orange lines. There’s even RideShare2Vote, a Democratically aimed ride share service operating in North Texas cities like Plano, Frisco, and McKinney.
Coleman isn’t sure how many people will need the service on election day, because many will vote absentee, by mail, or vote early, but he hopes the public takes advantage.
“We hope it’s really really popular,” he says. “We believe voting is fundamental. If nothing else, this is a way to remind people they have no excuse not to vote. Whether you walk, drive, ride Alto or take one of our competitors, the goal is to get people to the polls.”
To take advantage of Alto’s free rides to the polls on Election Day only, customers need to open the Alto app and use code VOTE2020 for a free ride to and from a nearby polling location.