CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you want to vote but don’t have a way to get there, a local organization is offering free rides to the polls through Election Day.
A fleet of about a dozen vans sat parked outside of the Bojangles Coliseum Monday afternoon, fueled up and prepared to head into Charlotte communities.
The “roll to the polls” efforts are being offered by NACA, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. NACA is a homeownership organization with offices in Charlotte, but representatives say, they are also an advocacy organization.
“We’re all about access,” said Shawn Cunningham, the regional operations director for NACA. “We’re all about making sure that people who are normally discriminated against and normally underserved are part of the community.”
NACA is focusing its efforts in underserved communities across Charlotte, but will also provide rides in York County and Columbia, S.C.
“We’ll meet the demand,” Cunningham said. “We’ll serve whoever we can.”
The organization is partnering with local community groups and churches to help get the word out.
“Your vote counts,” said Abundant Faith Word Church Bishop Amere May at the kick-off pep rally Monday afternoon. “Many have shed bloodshed and tears for you to have this opportunity today.”
NACA has already given more than 25,000 rides in Atlanta and Houston in the last two weeks. Demand is so high in those cities that they’ve had to add vans to their fleets. NACA representatives call it “the largest coordinated effort of its kind.”
Cunningham said he recognizes there may be people who are hesitant to accept rides in the middle of a pandemic.
“We’re concerned with safety first and foremost,” he said. We want to make sure you have the access to the polls, but we also want to make sure you have safety.”
Drivers will wear and provide face masks and hand sanitizer for riders, they will perform temperature checks, limit capacity on the 15-seat vans, and clean the vans between each ride.
If you would like to request a ride, you can call 1-888-495-6222.