This year’s presidential election is taking place in the middle of a pandemic, making it harder for states to find enough poll workers, register eligible voters, get people set up on mail-in ballots, or even make sure people make it to the polls.
So the tech companies behind some of the most popular apps are getting involved to make sure people can exercise their right to vote. For many of these initiatives, you don’t even have to leave the app you’ve already downloaded. You can’t actually vote in the apps, however.
Ride-hailing app Lyft is giving free rides to voters in underserved communities through several organizations: the Black Women’s Roundtable; the National Federation of the Blind; and the Student Veterans of America. These LyftUp partners will give out free codes to community members to ride to any polling place or ballot drop-off location.
All Lyft users can get a 50% discount (up to $10) on an Election Day ride to the polls or a dropbox with the discount code “VOTE2020.” Enter the code in the promos tab on the app.
This year, the discount also works for Lyft bike- and scooter-share rentals. Lyft is also providing rides to new polling locations in Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Orlando.
Snap has a bunch of different ways to get out the vote. One is a voter registration portal directly in the Snapchat app. It’ll also track how many people have registered just on Snapchat.
Others include different resources and guides also within Snapchat to show how you can vote (such as vote-by-mail or in-person at the polls depending on your state) and how to make a voting plan. On every profile page there’s a voter checklist to make sure you’re ready to rock the vote.
Snapchat is partnering with BallotReady to include a whole #BeforeYouVote guide.
The Uber and Uber Eats apps are normally where you head to order rides and request food deliveries, but starting Tuesday they’re also where you can register to vote or request a ballot.
As part of a partnership with TurboVote, the Uber apps’ main screen will become a registration portal.
Closer to November, Uber will add polling place search in the app and give a promo code for discounted rides to the polls.
In an emailed statement, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said, “I know that Uber is uniquely positioned to help move people to the polls, so over the course of the next two months, we’ll work to ensure every American citizen, regardless of the barriers they face, can cast their vote.”
If you’re over 18 and in the U.S., look at your Facebook news feed and you should see a notice at the top about working the polls in November. In the app you’ll get directed to an application to be a poll worker in your state as election departments face worker shortages this year.
Note: This story will be updated as companies announce voting initiatives for the election on Nov. 3.