Ride-Sharing Services, Apps Offer Election-Day Help

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Ride-hailing companies Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. are offering Election Day services to help voters get to the polls. It’s the final push from the technology industry to catalyze turnout and increase public engagement in a highly charged campaign season.

Between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Lyft is offering a 45 percent discount (a reference to the vote that will decide the 45th president of the United States) on a single ride to passengers in more than 20 markets across the country, including Atlanta,Charlotte, N.C., Miami, Philadelphia and Washington. The biggest discount a user can receive for the ride is $10, according to a copy of the email sent to eligible customers shared with Morning Consult.

Meanwhile, Uber is teaming up with Google Inc. to make it easier for customers to find their polling station, but rides will not be discounted. When customers open the Uber app tomorrow, they will see pop-up reminders informing them that it’s Election Day, and they’ll be offered assistance in locating their polling location.

“Given the important decision people around the country will make on November 8th, we wanted to make getting to and from your polling place easier than ever,” Niki Christoff, head of federal affairs at Uber, wrote in a blog post. “Teaming up with Google, Uber is excited to help make that trip as convenient and stress free as possible.”

Lyft and Uber’s offers reflect a growing trend from tech companies this election cycle to get voters to the polls. In October, Google unveiled tools to help voters research the issues on their respective ballots as well as polling station locations.

Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have been active in the tech industry’s attempt to catalyze a large voter turnout as well.

Facebook flashed reminders to U.S. users to register to vote online, spurring an increase in online registrations in nine states, the New York Times reported. Pennsylvania and California were among the states where Facebook’s reminder had a noticeable effect, according to the Times.

Twitter made similar attempts to register voters by announcing that users could send a direct message to the account “@Gov” with their zip code to receive an automated response with their state’s voter registration deadline as well as a personalized link to get registered.

Twitter also live-streamed the presidential debates during the general campaign season in a partnership with Bloomberg Television.

The tech industry largely backs Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president. Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook are all on Clinton’s “Hillblazers” list, individuals who have contributed or raised at least $100,000 for Hillary for America, the Hillary Victory Fund or the Hillary Action Fund.

Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz are also on that list, along with former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.

There is one notable exception to those supporters. Palantir Technologies Inc. Chairman and Facebook board member Peter Thiel has been a prominent supporter of Republican nominee Donald Trump. Thiel donated $1.25 million to Trump’s campaign and affiliated super PACs in October.

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