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Souls to the Polls: Volunteers shuttle people to vote

Posted at 6:32 PM, Nov 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-04 23:56:21-04

NORWOOD, Ohio -- Need a free Uber to the polls?

Well, it’s not exactly Uber.

The NAACP provided shuttles to the Hamilton County Board of Elections Saturday as a part of their Souls to the Polls initiative.

Terence Gragston, committee chair for Voteless People Hopeless People, said volunteers took calls from their hotline and drove people who need a lift to the Board of Elections.

“(I) can’t stress enough the importance of voting,” Gragston said. “People don’t understand that them voting is part of their interest. It’s their voice. That’s their way of letting the local officials know what they can expect of them.”

Shuttles ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Gragston said they will shuttle people to the polls again on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For Sunny Wilson, of Northside, the ballot is less about the candidates and more about the future of  the city.

“For me personally, it feels like an added pressure to get more involved with local elections,” Wilson said. “I’d like to see changes made. These elections I might have overlooked in the past, city council members, now I’m seeing that it can shape things in the city.”

Wilson said she is particularly interested in supporting issues for health and education.

"All of the levies, for the mental health issues, and anything for schools or health related, I'm always for supporting,” she said.

This year’s election is special for Sandeep Singh. Singh, who is originally from India, became a U.S. citizen in April.

Singh, of East Walnut Hills, said he is eager to vote in his first election.

"I love the United States,” Singh said. “It's given me opportunities in terms of work and life. I feel like we need more diversity."

Singh said he hopes this election will promote diversity in the community.

"When I came out here I did some studying to find out how many are women, non-white people are running, I think it's very important,” he said.

Voter turnout was 30 percent four years ago. Election officials are projecting a 35 percent turnout this year.

Gragston said he hopes people take the time to contribute to the election process.

"If we don't vote, we don't have a voice in the process, and thereby, we're not necessarily taking advantage of our rights that people have fought for,” he said.

Gragston said Souls to the Polls volunteers hope to shuttle about 200 people between Saturday and Sunday.

“These are the types of things you’d hope to see in the community, from its leaders to help compel action to lead to a great common goal for everybody in the city,” he said.

In addition to volunteer shuttles, City council candidate Jeff Pastor provided a bus for transportation to the polls.

If you need a ride to the polls Sunday, you can call 513-318-8332 or 513-281-1900.

Election Day is Nov. 7.