Transportation to Polling Areas on SU Campus
By Cameron Tirado – Syracuse, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – Seventy-six percent of Syracuse University students don’t have a car on campus, according to the latest statistics from U.S. News and World Report. This lack of mobility could hinder college graduates and undergraduates from having their voices heard at the polls on Tuesday’s election.
The Student Association is taking steps to make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s partnering with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) to provide free shuttle buses in the hopes that transportation will not be a factor in preventing people from voting.
“It’s important for students across the country to vote because we are part of the millennial-age voting demographic which is currently the largest voting population,” Student Association’s Student Life Chair Erin Mooney explained. “So if we have high turnout, we will have more influence over the election than the baby boomers for example.”
Mooney started the job just two weeks ago with co-chair Jalen Nash, and this is their first, big project since joining the Student Association team. She says the pair got to work on this initiative the day after they were confirmed.
“It’s important for SU students (to vote) specifically because the district we’re in (NY-24) is a swing district, so just like how Pennsylvania or Ohio can go red or blue in a presidential election, our district can go red or blue in this congressional election,” Mooney said. “A vote in the district can have much more influence than it would in a solid red or blue district.”
On Nov. 6, two shuttles will be operating on two different routes from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. One is running every half-hour from Goldstein on South Campus to the Drumlins Country Club. This is the South Campus polling location.
The other route will be running every hour from College Place, and it will make multiple stops. It will go through the Flint Hall Circle, Sadler Hall Circle and BBB Hall Circle before going to polling places at Toomey Abbott Circle at Toomey Abbott Apartments and Huntington Hall.
Ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft and Zipcar are also trying to increase voter turnout. In the most recent version of the Uber mobile-app, users can type the code “VOTE2018” and request a discounted ride to their polling place. The cheapest options would be ExpressPOOL, POOL, or UberX, in that order.
Lyft is taking a similar stance with discounted rides. Promo codes vary across the country, but for the 13210 zip code, it’s “VOTENY2”. Buzzfeed is collaborating with the company, and more promo code information can be accessed on its website.
“It is estimated that over 15 million people were registered but didn’t vote in 2016 because of transportation issues,” the Lyft website states. “That’s why we’re committed to providing 50 percent off rides across the country, and free rides to underserved communities that face significant obstacles to transportation”.
Zipcar is offering a $20 credit for users who reserve and drive a car on election night between 6 and 10 p.m. local time. The credit will be reimbursed in email form. This is a national initiative which members can take advantage of by reserving at any time so long as it’s for a ride during the allotted time .
“Our ongoing Drive to Vote initiative encourages our community of more than a million Zipcar members not only to vote themselves, but also for others to vote as well,” Zipcar Public Relations Manager Katelyn Chesley said.
She added that the time slot was picked right before polls close so that every last minute voice could be heard. Voices like students who have classes throughout the day and can’t make vote until later in the evening, she explained.
Student organizer Liam McMonagle, who helped register students to vote, encourages people across the SU campus to take advantage of these opportunities because he thinks it’s essential for students to be heard and represented now more than ever.
“Voting is so critical for young people, and especially college students, because they are such an important part of the future, yet so historically underrepresented,” McMonagle said. “A lot of people fail to realize that living in a dorm or living in an apartment in your college town entitles them to a say in the representation there. If you live there nine months out of the year, of course you should be voting there and having a say in the way you’re represented in your state legislature and in Congress.”
Student Association will also be holding a watch party with free food in Schine Dining from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. for the campus to see the election’s results.
Tune into CitrusTV News at Channel 14.1 on OTN or citrustv.com/live for full midterm election coverage starting 8 pm.