Washed out Democracy?

Washed out Democracy?

washedout-50Grassroots organizers ensure hurricane impacted voters can cast their ballots

Early voters who need a ride to the polls have a new option this year that, in a way, kind of resembles Uber.

Democracy North Carolina and partner organizations rolled out a new ride request service that is manned by volunteers across the state. Voters who need a ride to the polls can either call the hotline at 888-482-7353 or request a ride online.

Cheryl Ellis, special campaigns coordinator at Democracy NC, said Thursday that there were about 20 to 25 calls on the first day of early voting. Turnaround to get people to the polls is usually 24 hours or less, she said.

The organization offered similar service in 2014 in Charlotte and took between 200 and 300 people to the polls, showing a real need in the state for the program.

“We’re just hoping to fill that gap,” Ellis said.

She added that most of the calls Thursday were in the Winston-Salem and Greensboro area, with a few in Charlotte and in Wake County.

Volunteers with the NAACP are helping out and individuals can volunteer to give rides through the program.

Jen Jones, a spokeswoman with Democracy NC, said she hoped the service would also be helpful to voters in eastern counties, where flooding was an issue after Hurricane Matthew.

How to get a ride to the polls


Step 1

During the early voting period, voters without transportation to the polls can schedule a free ride online at ncvoter.org or by calling NC Rides to the Polls directly.


Step 2

Organizers in each county receive these requests, and confirm voters’ location and availability.


Step 3

Organizers schedule volunteer drivers to pick up single voters at home, or orchestrate larger pickups at campuses and other central locations.


Step 4

Community organizations, such as churches or schools, can participate by rallying groups of voters to use the service, or by volunteering transportation.


Step 5

After ballots have been cast, drivers deliver voters back home.

Illustrations by Nelle Dunlap

Read the complete series:

Part One: The rough road to the ballot box
Part Two: What’s at stake
Part Three: How hurricane impacted counties are prepared for early voting
Part Four: Grassroots organizers ensure hurricane impacted voters can cast their ballots