You’ve read the reports; not enough people are voting. Only 12.2% of registered voters turned up at the polls for the May 9 election – more than usual, but still not a representative slice of the public – so some local organizations are taking it upon themselves to break that trend.
Earn-A-Bike Co-op, Women’s Wrench Night and others – including the Rivard Report – are inviting people to cycle to Lion’s Field to “Exercise Their Ride to Vote.” The groups are throwing a party called Ride2Vote from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, to celebrate those who are helping shape the future of San Antonio by voting.
Food trucks will set up shop and live music will play for the crowd at Lion’s Field, 2809 Broadway St., to make voting a celebration instead of a menial task.
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At 6 p.m. cyclists will leave Lion’s Field for an evening at the Friendly Spot. Early voting began June 1 and will continue through June 9. Click here for voting information. The final vote will be held Saturday, June 13.
Earn-A-Bike Co-op Founder and Executive Director Cristian Sandoval said he was disappointed by the low voter turnout during the recent mayoral election.
“San Antonio is a city moving forward and experiencing amazing change, and it’s irresponsible to expect things to move forward, the way we’d like to, and not take 30 minutes (or less) to elect our Mayor,” he said.
Earn-A-Bike Co-op is a volunteer initiative that provides bicycle maintenance, services and education to local community members, and Women’s Wrench Night, an Earn-A-Bike program geared toward the ladies, meets once a week for group rides and once a month for bicycle mechanic lessons.
Edith Lopez Estrada, Earn-A-Bike Co-op community partnerships director and volunteer for the Women’s Wrench Night said the event aims to increase voter turnout specifically among women and Millennials, both of which are demographics that the organizations bring together to promote cycling.
“I think it’s important that we – women, Millennials, and cyclists – go out and vote so that our future leaders represent us and our issues, i.e. making sure that San Antonio becomes a more walkable and bikeable city,” she said.
Sandoval said Ride2Vote was created to foster a communal environment for those who show up to the polls.
“Our generation is somewhat isolated, yet we like to collaborate on projects and believe in teamwork,” he said. “We like group rides, social events, and hanging out with super chill people.”
Estrada said it’s important to make voting a more social process so that people can engage in discussion about current issues and our future leaders.
“San Antonio has already seen an increase in efforts to provide platforms that engage and educate through the ThinkVoting app and (mayoral) forums,” she said. “So now we want to make the Ride2Vote a fun social thing you can do on your way home from work or before your weekly social ride.”
Ride2Vote is an effort to make voting feel like a team endeavor, Sandoval said.
“We respect everyone’s position in this election,” he said. “We will choose the right candidate if we vote.”
*Featured/top image: A newly-assembled bike awaits its new owner during the Chiquitas Ciclistas event in the Eastside. Photo by Rachel Chaney.