JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A group called Free Rides to the Polls meets at Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist Church everyday to help people vote. “We’re just trying to encourage people to get out and vote,” Pastor Lee Harris, who is the head of the program, said. “Because their vote, their voice and we want to provide the services not only just to people around this church, but all across Jacksonville.”
Here’s how it works--people call in, asking for a ride, and volunteers from churches across the city, pick them up and take them to voting locations. Pastor Harris said since early voting started the program has given rides to nearly 400 people. And as we get closer to election day, he expects the demand to increase.
“It intensifies,” Pastor Harris, said. “It always intensifies.” He also said there is a possibility they could add more drivers and vans to keep up with the need. Currently they have nine vans and nine drivers.
This free option is open to anyone with any political affiliation. Pastor Harris said they don’t tell people who to vote for, but what they do provide to riders is a pamphlet which informs them who is on the ballot.
Jan Timmons volunteers and said the program makes sure peoples voices get heard. She’s been with Free Rides to the Polls since 2014 and has watched it grow. “By getting clients out to the polls to vote it makes our community better,” Timmons said.
The services for free rides to polls runs until early voting ends, May 14, and will also be available on election day, May 16. Anyone needing a ride to the polls can contact them by calling 904-859-5911 or 904-859-7833.
At this time, they are not able to assist people in wheelchairs because they don’t have the proper vehicle.