There are numerous reasons people give for not voting, including lack of interest or time or a way to get to the polls.
Aaron Berdanier wants to help overcome that last impediment, by creating maps that show early-voting sites that are served by public buses. Berdanier, who calls his project Bus to Vote, has made maps that people can download or print for early voting sites in Durham and Wake counties. He plans one for Mecklenburg soon.
“There have been studies that show that not having access to transportation can be a deterrent to going to vote,” he said. “If we can continue to reduce the barriers to voting — in this case knowing when and where to vote — then hopefully we can increase engagement.”
Berdanier is a product manager for TransLoc, a transportation technology company based in Research Triangle Park. Before he began working at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, he commuted to work every day by bus, taking the GoDurham 10 and GoTriangle 700 between home and RTP.
Berdanier wanted to do something to encourage people to vote and decided to combine his interest in transit with his data and computer skills. People might be able to find maps for bus routes and polling places, he said, but not a single map that shows them both.
The maps include only early-voting sites that are within a quarter mile of a bus stop. Berdanier said that distance is the industry standard for how far someone is most likely to walk to or from a transit stop.
As it happens, most early-voting sites in Durham and Wake are within a quarter mile of stops for GoCary, GoDurham, GoRaleigh or GoTriangle buses, he said.
Now that he has made the maps, Berdanier is looking for volunteers to hand them out to riders at the downtown stations for GoRaleigh and GoDurham. People can register and vote in person at one-stop early voting sites between Oct. 15 and Oct. 31.
Berdanier considered making a map for Orange County, but decided against it after he learned that there’s an early-voting site close to Chapel Hill Transit’s downtown station.
“That map may just be a single dot,” he said.
To find the maps, go to www.bustovote.org/.