Uber and Lyft Want to Get You to the Polls 

Every election season, Uber and Lyft jockey for the position of the most civic-minded ride-hailing company by offering various promotions, like free and discounted rides to polling places. This year, both companies are trying something new. On November 6th, Uber will add a new button in its app that will help people find and book rides to their polling place. It’s an extra step that Uber says it hopes will help get out the vote. Lyft also promises something similar. 

Uber. The poll locator will be available to anyone who lives in the US, but it’s targeted at suburban or exurban voters who tend to live outside of walking distance of their polling location. There are a variety of websites where voters can go to find their polling information but pairing that with a transportation service could help bridge the gap between the intention to vote and going to the polls. 

Lyft. The San Francisco-based ride service is also aiming to help its customers find their polling location. The company said in a recent announcement that it would release a “product integration to help passengers find their polling location.” It didn’t, however, specify what that integration would look like.

Surveys indicate that voter enthusiasm is at an all-time high this year, but if history is any indicator, most eligible voters will stay home. Slightly more than one-third of eligible voters turned out across the country in the last midterm elections.

Uber is hoping it can make a small contribution to turnout. “Using our technology and resources, we can help make it easier for every Uber rider in the US to get to their polling place at the push of a button,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a blog post.

The ride-hail company will also partner with two GOTV organizations, #VoteTogether and Democracy Works, to provide free rides to voters in specific communities. Uber will also help register riders and drivers to vote by sharing voter registration information through the app. An email went out to all Uber drivers this week encouraging them to visit one of Uber’s 125 Greenlight Hubs where they can register to vote. 

In August, Lyft saidit planned to give away 50 percent off promo codes with GOTV partners to encourage voter turnout. Neither Uber nor Lyft would say how many free and discounted rides they plan on distributing.

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