Troy organizations provide free buses for early voters

TROY, N.Y. — A coalition of community organizations in Troy are providing free buses to early voting sites.

“We want to level the playing field by providing an opportunity for people to make it out to vote,” Deacon Jerry Ford of the United Ordained Church in Troy, who is helping to organize the program, said. 

The non-partisan effort, “Souls to the Polls,” aims to make it easier for voters in Troy to access Rensselaer County’s early voting sites, which are not located on convenient CDTA bus routes for many living in South Troy, North Central, and Lansingburgh. Souls to the Polls is also meant to help voters avoid Election Day crowds on Nov. 3 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“If we can reduce some of that traffic, we can help make it safer for everyone,” Ford explained. 

The buses will comply with CDC guidelines by limiting the number of passengers in each vehicle and requiring all riders to wear masks. Masks will be available on the buses for those who do not have one.

There will be three routes running to two polling places, Holy Cross Armenian Church polling place in Troy and Brunswick Town Hall. The routes include pickup locations at 19 public housing complexes, churches, and parks. 

Schodack Town Hall is the third early polling place in Rensselaer County. There is no early voting location in downtown Troy.  

Early voting begins Oct. 24 and ends Nov. 1. Election Day is Nov. 3. There is no early voting on Nov. 2, which is the day before Election Day. 

Troy residents who want to take advantage of the free buses but are unable to get to and from a pick-up location are encouraged to contact any of the sponsoring groups for assistance.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re voting for, we just want people to get out and exercise their right to vote,” Ford added. 

Souls to the Polls is sponsored by Bethel Baptist Church, Equality for Troy, Fifth Ave AME Zion Church, Justice Center of Rensselaer County, Kingdom Ministries, League of Women Voters, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Team Hero, Troy Area United Ministries, United Ordained Church and the Troy Branch of the NAACP.

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