Carpool Vote: Fighting Back Against Voter Suppression
Recent Supreme Court rulings have led seen significant reductions in the opportunities to vote in several states. Prohibitive procedures, remote locations of polling places and various other barriers to voting exist increasingly for many Americans. Further, these problems impact most those groups who already suffer from a lack of support – people of color, people with disabilities, young people, elderly people, and women.
Carpool Vote began as a project in 2016 by a group of people around the world, led by the project’s enthusiastic and tireless founder, keen to use their range of skills to address these issues. The plan was to use technology in a way that did not require those using the system to be owners of expensive equipment or to have more than everyday technical knowledge themselves. The basic idea is a simple one – anyone can offer to driver someone to the polls, and anyone can ask for a ride. The system automatically matches driver and rider and connects them together.
The project worked on the open-source model. Further, key project members made significant efforts, with much success, to ensure that contributions to the project were possible and welcomed from those who are either under-represented in tech or merely just starting to help with open-source projects.
The project was created in time for the presidential election of 2016 and was received with great enthusiasm by volunteer drivers who were eager to support other Americans. The system also helps those volunteers and activists who have spent many years providing this form of support. During 2016 and 2017 the system has helped many to vote who otherwise would have been prevented from doing so, often in areas where just a few votes can make a difference.
The presentation will review how the system was designed and built, how the project was managed and the plans for 2018 and beyond. The team are always keen to encourage new contributors and hear their ideas, and specific areas of welcome support will be mentioned.
The talk will not focus too heavily on the technical side, although it will be possible to answer any technical questions, but on the team work and on both positive areas and difficulties faced during the project. The intention is to provide insights to others working on projects or planning them. We also look forward to finding new volunteers and ideas for Carpool Vote to maintain and build on its achievements.
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