October 31, 2014

Early voters can get free rides to polls

Voters in Hyde Park—including University students—can get free rides to area polling stations this week in a push for early voting ahead of the November 4 election day. Local political groups Chicago Votes and Raise Action Illinois, an advocate for a $10 minimum wage in Chicago, have organized shuttles between campus and the polling stations.

According to Patrick Dexter (A.B. ‘14), a field manager for Raise Action Illinois, a new law was recently passed in Illinois to allow early voters to register at the polling stations before election day. This change seems to have contributed to the early voting push.

“I’ve been driving cars full of people to early vote all over the city for about a week now, and nobody has ever had to wait in line to vote,” Dexter said. “Whereas if you show up on election day in your precinct you’ll find lines out the door, and in some cases around the block.”

40 different vans are in use to take people to the polls in different neighborhoods throughout Cook County, which encompasses Chicago. The van that circulates around the University of Chicago campus has transported 25 people to the polling stations so far in the past week. The program will continue throughout the weekend, with bussing every hour from 1–4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“This is the first time something like this has been done and it’s exciting to see it come off the ground and see if it’s something that could happen in other elections in years to come,” Dexter said.

—Natalie Friedberg