Government
2:49 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Local Group Will Provide “Roll to the Polls" for Underprivileged

Pittsburgh area voters without access to a vehicle to get to their polling place for tomorrow's primary election can get a ride through a local service.

The Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) will have vans running all day to get underprivileged voters to the polls. Tim Stevens, chairman of B-PEP, said there are many reasons to provide the service.

"This is something we do every six months to increase voter participation, voter understanding and the legality of the voting process," Stevens said.

Stevens said while the service is intended and targeted towards underprivileged African Americans, it's not limited to a particular political party or race, and they will take anyone who has no vehicle to their precinct. By calling 412-434-0919 between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM Tuesday, April 24, residents in the Hill District, North Side, Manchester, East Liberty, Garfield, Homewood, Wilkinsburg, Braddock or McKeesport can get a van ride to their polling place. The free rides are offered in cooperation with the Community Intensive Supervision Program. He advises calling the elections bureau at 412-350-4500 to confirm the location of your polling place.

Stevens said he wants voter turnout to correlate to more effective policies benefiting minority populations.

"The mission of B-PEP is that those in office expeditiously and effectively meet the needs, aspirations and concerns of African Americans and that African Americans see the connection of a significant voter turnout to political results. I call it political mathematics," Stevens said.

Additionally, Stevens said volunteers will be at polling places providing "Election Protection" services to assist anyone experiencing problems. While the state's new Voter ID bill, which requires a photo ID to vote, does not go into effect until the November Presidential election, Stevens said he expects a certain level of confusion in the first election since the bill's passage.