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Souls to the Polls provides van rides for early voters

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Several local churches are making sure transportation isn’t a problem for Marion County voters.

It’s part of the Souls to the Polls initiative. Marion County has more than a half-million registered voters. So the chances of everyone making it from their communities to the City-County Building to vote early isn’t likely.

William Oliver, a Democrat on the City-County Council, along with the Crossroads AME Church, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church and other churches in the city are collaborating to get even more people to the polls with their initiative. Donated vans will move between six area churches to pick up people to take them to the polls. Oliver said so many people feel particularly connected to this election, and it’s everyone’s duty to do what they can to help out their neighbor with voting.

“Sometimes transportation is an issue and, in our case, we have a population of, almost have 1 million people here in Marion County,” Oliver said.

In the November 2018 election, Marion County had 647,977 registered voters, records show.

Thousands have already stood in line for early voting at the city government center downtown, and thousands more are expected to before Election Day, Nov. 3. Presidential-election years tend to bring out larger numbers of voters, and 2020 is no exception.

Waiting Tuesday were Jade McDowell and Jazmen Marion, first-time voters. McDowell’s mother got them to the City-County Building. “We really should get out and vote because our voices can be heard through voting,” Marion said.

McDowell is a student at Tennessee State University and came back home just to vote. “I was just basically seeing what places are early voting. Just trying to get my voice out there so I can vote,” she said.

“It really is the younger generation that’s going to carry on the legacy, and we really are in control of our futures,” Marion said.

Other churches involved include Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church and Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church.

For pickups, call 317-821-7539 or 802-951-4157.

This story has been updated to list churches in the initiative and phone numbers to receive a ride.