Columbus nonprofit offers free rides for disabled citizens to vote

Columbus nonprofit offers free rides for disabled citizens to vote

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - With 26 days left until the presidential election, a Columbus nonprofit is making sure those with disabilities can make it to the polls.

Access 2 Independence held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to announce they'll be offering free rides for those who want to vote and make their vote count for November.

Not everyone is able to drive to one of the most important trips they'll take, but the new program is able to assist.

"With all the barriers that are present and all the concerns that are going to happen with Medicare and Medicaid voting is how to use your voice," said Nichole Davis, Executive Director of Access 2 Independence.

They focus on giving more independence to those with disabilities. A press release from the nonprofit says disabled people represent a huge electoral bloc, but often face barriers when it comes to voting.

However, in a few weeks, they'll be offering free rides for those like Rashad Jones going to place their ballot.

"For myself and those in the community, this is a huge step towards an inclusive society," said Jones, who is visually impaired.
The Muscogee County Elections Office say a voting machine at all 26 polling locations will have a disability kit to help people with visual disabilities.

"This is something we've had with the voting system since 2001 but it is not an option that is used often. So we are excited about the opportunity to re-introduce this option," said Nancy Boren, Executive Director of the Muscogee County Elections Office. 

"I'm very excited to be using this for the first time though I have voted before," said Jones.

"With the disability community having one of the largest minorities but often times being one of the smallest minorities to actually vote, we wanted to do everything we could to eliminate the barriers that are keeping people from voting," added Davis.

Access 2 Independence wants to make sure the community they represent isn't overlooked in the November election.

Access 2 Independence will rent a para-transit bus from Metra to give the free rides from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to vote at the City Services Center on Macon Road during early voting on Saturday, October 29. This service is only for Muscogee County.

You must call them by October 25 to make reservations. They can be reached at (706) 405-2393 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5p.m. and are located at 1315 Delauney Ave Suite 201 in Columbus.

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