Of all the campaign slogans for 2020, Allison Ali is following motherly advice from her childhood.
“My Mama always said, ‘if you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice,’” she said. “So, it’s put up or shut up.”
Ali is taking those wise words on the road and also taking voters to the polls for free.
“It’s important to me, because everybody needs to be heard,” she said.
This election season, Ali is one of hundreds of people working for the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America during a campaign called “Roll to the Polls.”
“We have a real opportunity to impact the elections,” said NACA CEO Bruce Marks.
Marks’ team has 100 vans in Atlanta and 50 more in Houston with a goal of getting 100,000 voters from their houses to their polling locations free of charge.
“It is very emotional because we’ve been through a lot,” Marks said of these free rides. “We’ve seen the voter suppression and we’ve seen how people’s rights are taken away. So, it’s crucial that everybody’s voice is heard.”
Across the country, rideshare apps, colleges and even some concerned citizens are offering voters free rides to the election sites.
While some political science experts warn that free rides could be used as a way to manipulate voters, others are calling it a sign of inspiration.
“I want to do my part, honestly, to get them out,” said Atlanta-based voter Pamela Chaney, a self-described vibrant senior.
Chaney says this election is the most crucial of her lifetime and that’s why she’s now thinking about volunteering to drive voters to polls, especially those in her community, where public transportation isn’t an option.
“A lot of people probably want to come out, but they don’t have the means; transportation. They’re probably elderly,” she said.
According to the American Association of Retired People, 71% of Americans over the age of 65 voted during the last presidential election, a group Ali hopes to steer clear from any of kind of voter suppression.
“We have people who think their votes aren’t going to count,” she said. “They don’t think the mail is going to get their in time. That’s a scary thing.”
While behind the wheel, Ali is still following her mother’s advice and driving down a road that others helped pave the way.
“We have ancestors that fought for us to be able to come out here and vote,” she said. “This election for me is very important.”