MAGIC VALLEY — In previous years The League of Women Voters of Idaho has assisted voters with transportation to and from polls, but with the pandemic this year, they face some obstacles with getting voters to the polls safely.
The organization used to be able to transport up to six people at a time in one vehicle, but now they can only transport one person at a time because of social distancing.
"It's tragic to me. It's a sad commentary that this year we are probably not going to be very successful in getting people physically transported to the polls," Jamar Brown, State Secretary of League of Women Voters of Idaho, said.
Because of public transportation being limited in Idaho, Brown tells us transportation to the polls was an issue even before the pandemic. With COVID-19 concerns, most people are worried about taking public transit, and Brown says that they have seen a decrease in the number of people reaching out for support with transportation to and from the polls.
"Overall, it's still going to be a challenge for people to use public transportation and some of our communities and not even our smaller communities, some of them don't have very good public transportation at all," Brown said. "And for those who do have public transportation, here again, there's a sanitation problem. Do you want to get on that bus? Do you want to access that?"
Knowing this was going to be a challenge, the organization decided to encourage people to utilize mail-in voting ballots. Still, they kept their transportation services available for those who still wanted to vote in person.
"We do realize that there are people that like the ceremony of actually getting to the polls, and we are trying to accommodate them. But it has become very challenging, and now we have issues even with vehicles trying to keep them sanitized," Brown said.
Although they have faced some bumps in the road, Brown says they look at this as a learning process for future elections.
"This is something that we feel passionate about, and this is something that we're going to look for better solutions in the future, regardless if there is a pandemic or not. We are going to make sure that we reach out to anyone who needs assistance getting to the polls or getting that voter information," Brown said.
If you or someone you know needs assistance with transportation to a voting poll, you can visit the League of Women Voters of Idaho's website.