November isn’t far away, and older people should start planning how they’ll get to the voting booth. We younger citizens can help by carving out time on Election Day to give a lift to those who can’t get to the polling station on their own. There are many places you can offer that small but powerful kindness, starting with the local senior centers, where you can ask the facility’s director for the name of a senior who needs a lift.
Some of the senior living lodges provide bus transportation to the polling station – or even bring the voting booth to the facility.
I called Tri Delta Transit at 925-754-3060 and spoke with Jeanne Krieg, who told me there are two ways to utilize the Tri Delta system. The regular fare of $3.35 is based on a round-trip ticket that’s good for the day, but for the disabled and seniors 65 and over, the round-trip fare is only $1.35; 85 cents one way.
Those are normal-route fares. On Election Day, however, you can call ahead for pickup. Dial-A-Ride, which is like a shared taxi, costs $5 round trip ($2.50 each way). You’ll need to register first for this system by calling 925-754-6622. If you need a ride to cast your vote on Election Day – a busy day for Tri Delta – call well in advance: Sunday, Nov. 4. Home pickups are fine; just give the address of your polling station as it appears on your ballot.
All polling stations can be found on www.smartvoter.org, which lists places by town and city. Or go to www.cocovote.us and enter your ZIP code (and look for wheelchair access). Your ballot will give you your voting location but this online service will back it up.
Information on absentee ballots is available at www.sos.ca.gov. The last day to apply online is Oct. 22. As always, you can e-mail me for this information or I can look up your closest location.
This is a crazy time; the issues get more and more complicated. But one thing I know for sure: when given the chance, seniors will make their voices heard. My mom displays her “I Voted” sticker proudly each time she exercises her right to vote. Hers is a soft but powerful voice.
Marla Luckhardt is a Discovery Bay resident and member of the East Contra Costa Senior Coalition. She works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. To contact her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.