The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian Friday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (October 14, 2022)
BLOOMINGTON, IND. — A coalition of Bloomington-based organizations have partnered with UBER to offer free rides to early voting and Election Day to any Monroe County resident using money granted by the National Organization for Women Foundation.
The National Organization for Women Foundation announced Sept. 18 that it would fund the efforts of the Monroe County coalition. The local organizations joining the Monroe County National Organization for Women (MCNOW) include the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, Indiana University Student Government (IUSG), the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County, IU Civics Leader Center, IU Political and Civic Engagement, and the IU and Monroe County chapters of the NAACP.
“We asked nonvoters, and students, what some of the biggest barriers were to getting out to vote. Transportation and accessibility were some of the top concerns,” Monroe County NOW President Natalia Galvan said. “We want to do all we can to remove as many obstacles to voting as possible.” MCNOW board members, along with Bloomington City Councilor Steve Volan, began discussions regarding UBER last month, and details were finalized earlier this week.
Interested Monroe County residents are asked to use the URL: https://r.uber.com/rFUsjCvDSuB or the QR code on the consortium’s poster to access a free roundtrip UBER ride to Election Operations at 302 S. Walnut St during Early Voting. Residents may also use the free UBER voucher to access their polling site on Election Day.
Just over 13 percent of Monroe County voters made their voices heard in the 2022 primary elections held in May of this year. The majority of low voter turnout precincts in Bloomington are student precincts. The grant will allow the coalition to reach more potential voters ahead of the midterm elections later this year. The coalition will also work with local businesses to place promotional materials and create social media campaigns to bring awareness about the free rides.
“Students have no less a stake in the well-being of this community as non-students do. We also know that students are all but discouraged from voting in local elections because so many people, students and non-students alike, think they don’t, or they shouldn’t count,” said Volan, who represents Bloomington’s largest student population in Bloomington City Council District 6. Efforts like these are designed to encourage students to make their voices and concerns heard at the ballot box.
Press Contact: Natalia Galvan
“We need to reach students, young adults and anyone who isn’t voting where they are,” Galvan said. “We also must be led by students. They know what they need; we just have to ask.” The consortium of organizations is led by many student leaders and organizations, including IU NAACP and IU Student Government.
“I’m one of 47,000 students here on campus, each with different assumptions made about them. But each student has something valuable they can offer to our community. I believe that, when given the right opportunity and when taken seriously by older non-students, current students can use their voice to make a difference,” said IU student leader and Alpha Chi Omega junior, Isabelle DeCastro. DeCastro led an effort to register over 50 students on Eagleson Avenue in one day alone last week.
Early voting began on Oct. 12, 2022. Election Day is Nov. 8, 2022. Those who register for the 2022 midterm elections will be automatically registered for the 2023 municipal primary elections.
The Monroe County Chapter of the National Organization for Women is dedicated to intersectional feminism, fighting for constitutional equality, reproductive rights, freedom from violence, and social justice for all women. Established in 2017, it is one of the leading organizations in Monroe County working on behalf of these issues.