Approximately one third of those who could potentially head to the polls in Athens Clarke-County on or before November 6, have no vehicle.
That is a large portion of the population and an even larger share of the vote, especially when the Presidential contest is expected to be close.
Gail Schrader, Supervisor of Elections and Voter Registration for Athens-Clarke County, wants people to know "there are other options for people who cannot get out of their houses to vote.”
Casting a vote can become a problem for people who take the bus, ride a bicycle, or ask a friend to drive them. “The problem becomes that much greater when people have to plan for Election Day,” said Mark Bradley, a 21-year-old Athens resident living on the eastside of town.
On Election Day, transit users and voters flood into the Athens Multimodal Transportation Center. It also doubles as the polling place for precinct 4A so it can quickly become a hectic influx of people on Election Day.
“There’s a lot of traffic coming in and out,” explains Sharyneeka Taylor, an Athens Transit office employee who has worked on past Election Days.
Joseph Dingle, who has a vision problem that rules out driving, uses the bus as his main way of transportation around town. The 25 year-old musician plans to vote on Election Day and reach his polling place by riding the bus. “It sucks, riding the bus, sometimes, really it does,” Dingle said.
In 2008, the busses were free on Election Day thanks to the teamwork between the Athens Transit System and the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections, but in 2012 there will be no free ride on Election Day. Ronnie Gant, 15-year veteran and Information Center Supervisor for the AMTC explained, “As of right now, I’m not sure that it is going to happen.”
Schrader offered three ways people can hit the polls: early voting at the Board of Elections, City Hall, or The Classic Center, mailing in an absentee ballot vote, or voting in person on November 6 at their respective precincts.
Although no official free rides are offered via public transit on Election Day, busses will be running Nov. 6.
Both political parties and other organizations offering rides to vote early or on Nov. 6 include:
- The Clarke County Democratic Committee, call 706-546-7075
- The Athens GOP, contact Craig Cady at 706-201-7925
- The Economic Justice Coalition Inc. in Athens at 706-549-1142
Anyone with questions concerning precincts, polling places, or general voting can contact the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections at 706-613-3150.
A list of all Athens Transit bus routes is listed inside every Transit bus as well as online.