Ride-hailing services Lyft and Uber — and their community partners — are promoting discounts to get voters to the polls on Tuesday. Or, in vote-by-mail states, to get ballot holders to drop boxes.
Lyft has been giving away 50 percent off promo codes, good for up to a $5 discount, to its service. The coupon codes are ZIP code-specific. In Washington state, the code is VOTEWA and should be entered into the Lyft smartphone app. Lyft specifically allows discounted rides to registered ballot drop boxes in exclusively vote-by-mail states, like Washington state.
Uber is offering $10 off a single ride to the polls using, the company said in a blog post, “the most affordable Uber option available in your city (Express POOL, POOL, or UberX, in that order).” The discount code to use in the Uber app is VOTE2018. Likewise, an Uber spokesperson says the discount is valid for taking a ride to a ballot drop box in Washington state.
— King Co Elections (@kcelections) November 6, 2018
— Uber (@Uber) November 5, 2018
And yes, there are disclaimers. Neither Lyft nor Uber discounts can be combined with other offers or discounts. Also, apparently, you don’t actually have to vote — just be transported to a place where you can vote. “This offer is not intended to induce, nor is it conditioned on, the act of voting, refraining from voting or voting for or against any particular candidate, political party or measure,” notes Uber. Lyft has similar disclaimer language.
Not all poll or ballot box trips require payment. Lyft planned free rides to “underserved communities that face significant obstacles to transportation,” working with nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations like Voto Latino, local Urban League affiliates, the National Federation of the Blind, Faith in Action, League of Women Voters, and the Student Vets of America. Uber said it’s partnered with #VoteTogether and Democracy Works.
Representatives of both Uber and Lyft told GeekWire at midday that they don’t know how successful their Election Day discount promotions have been so far, but a Lyft spokesperson said a related pre-election campaign to get people registered to vote led to nearly 18,000 registrations.