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Lyft Is Giving Free Rides to the Polls This Campaign Season

Illustration for article titled Lyft Is Giving Free Rides to the Polls This Campaign Season
Photo: Isaac Brekken (Getty)

Americans don’t exactly have a stellar voting record—even 2018's record-setting turnout barely cracked 50 percent—but Lyft’s working to eliminate at least one excuse for not getting out to the polls: Lacking a ride.

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This week the ride-sharing service announced that it’s expanding its free and discounted ride program throughout this year’s primary and election seasons. Starting with Monday’s critical Iowa caucus, Lyft will offer ride vouchers to in-need riders through its Voting Access Program. Similar to the company’s effort for the 2018 midterms, Lyft’s new Voting Access Program is made possible through its partnerships with various non-profits, including the League of Women Voters and the National Urban League, which will oversee distributing these vouchers.

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“Every citizen who wants to exercise their fundamental right to vote should have reliable, affordable access to the polls — regardless of income, age, zip code, or political affiliation,” Lyft said in a company blog post Friday. “Yet in the last presidential election, it’s estimated that more than 15 million eligible voters didn’t go to the polls in large part because they lacked a way to get there.”

It all falls under the company’s LyftUp initiative, a recently launched charitable effort aimed at “using free and discounted rides to help address challenges like joblessness, food insecurity, and poor health.”

And while I commend Lyft’s commitment to supporting our communal civic duty, I do have a few suggestions for the company’s next philanthropic venture. Like supporting unions, promoting fair wages (or, at the very least, not fighting tooth and nail against them), and advocating for laws that make all these companies dependent on the gig economy treat their workers like actual people.

Just a thought, Lyft. Kudos for getting out the vote, though!

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Gizmodo weekend editor. Freelance games reporter. Full-time disaster bi.

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DISCUSSION

fritzotheham
Fritz O' The Ham
  • This is a great thing to do. People should be able to get out to vote regardless of their transportation situation.
  • Lyft is doing this because it’s free advertising, and good PR.
  • Are the drivers who are providing these free rides still being paid their normal rate?
  • This talk of “vouchers” makes me a little uneasy, like someone is going to get to decide if I qualify for a free ride to vote? What kind of information do I need to provide in order to qualify? Is anyone asking how Lyft is going to use/profit from this information they’ve collected?

I wish I wasn’t such a goddamned cynic, but I don’t feel like today’s corporations have earned the right to be trusted to do the right thing, in any way, ever.