‘Tote to Vote’ initiative providing free rides to early voting sites

AME Ministry Alliance expanding service after early voting site on Edward Waters College campus discontinued

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Faith leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal church in Northeast Florida who make up the AME Ministry Alliance are coming together to help people who want to vote early.

It’s called the “Tote to Vote” initiative.

Every year, the AME Ministry Alliance offers its church members a free ride to the polls, but this is the first time it’s extending this free service to people living in certain neighborhoods who want to vote early.

Extending the service came about after the Duval County supervisor of elections decided not to use the campus of Edward Waters College as an early voting site this election cycle because early voting turnout has been traditionally low at that location. In addition, people who want to avoid waiting in long lines on Election Day during the coronavirus pandemic are being urged to vote early.

If you live near the college and you need to get to an early voting location, call 904-739-7500.

“People will be able to call a central number, and we’ll find out their address and then we will dispatch one of our church vehicle and drivers to go and pick them up, take them to an early voting location and then return them back to their residence," said Pastor Mark Griffin with AME Ministry Alliance.

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Griffin says the AME Ministry Alliance will stay in contact with the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office to get an idea of which of the early voting locations have the fewest number of people waiting in line. This way drivers will not be waiting too long for voters to come out of the building. The pastor also says people who want to vote early will not be denied this free service because of their political preference.

“We’re nonpartisan, so we don’t care what their political party affiliation is. We’re not concerned with how they vote," Griffin said. “We just want to make sure that everyone who really wants to vote has that opportunity and that transportation is not an impediment.”

This service runs from Friday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Nov. 1. You’re asked to wear a mask when the driver comes to pick you up and while you are in the van or bus.

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