Uber Wants to Help You “Get to the Polls” on Election Day
Uber is making it easier than ever to get to your polling place on Election Day, November 6.
The ride-share app is helping Americans get to their local polling place with the click of a button. On election day, open the most updated version of the app to see a banner that will allow users to find their local polling place and request a ride instantly. “Decisions get made by those who show up,” tweeted Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “That’s why @uber is putting our technology to work so on #ElectionDay, November 6, you can drive the vote.”
Furthermore, to help the millions of Americans who cite transportation barriers as the reason they don’t vote, Uber is partnering with #VoteTogether and Democracy Works to provide a single ride up to $10 to the polls on Election Day.
Ahead of one of the most hotly contested mid-term elections, Glassdoor caught up with Dave Barmore, a public policy manager at Uber, to discuss the company’s commitment to civic duty and the innovation behind this first-of-its-kind in-app functionality.
Glassdoor: What was the genesis of the “Get to the Polls” initiative? How did this come to be a partnership that the Policy team at Uber felt was vital?
Dave Barmore: Ensuring our riders and drivers are civically engaged and involved in their communities goes back to the early days of Uber. Back in 2013 and 2014, we would engage with our riders and drivers to help make their voices heard when ridesharing regulations were being considered in their cities. In the 2016 election, we had our first national Election Day campaign that encouraged people to vote, and we are now expanding that effort in 2018. Uber has millions of riders and drivers in the US, and we want to do our part to ensure that we’re spreading awareness of the importance of voting.
Glassdoor: How did the partnership with When We All Vote come about? There are hundreds of political nonprofits. Why this one?
Dave Barmore: You’re correct, there are many organizations doing great work in this space! We wanted to ensure we were partnering with nonpartisan groups who would have the greatest reach and visibility. We were confident that by distributing When We All Vote’s voter registration resources, our riders, drivers, and employees would have crystal clear guidance on how to register in their state.
Glassdoor: Your team partnered with external organizations to execute this, but also internally with your product team. Talk to me about that internal partnership with the product team to not just make this a marketing campaign but one that was optimized and supported by Uber’s core product?
Dave Barmore: This project has been one of the most cross-functional initiatives I’ve ever been a part of at Uber. We’re a big organization and with any large national project, you’ve got to work with all the right teams to make sure it’s done right: product, marketing, operations, legal, engineering, comms, policy. I love this project because colleagues across Uber have come forward solely because it’s a labor of love and they’re ecstatic to help use our technology for good.
At Uber, we wanted to do our part to ensure that all our riders, drivers and employees are engaged in this critically important election.
Glassdoor: Uber’s competition has announced something similar, but it’s not integrated into the product. How will users experience Uber’s “Get to the Polls” feature on Nov. 6th?
Dave Barmore: You can see more details here on our Election Day $10 discount we are offering. We are really excited to have our polling place finder in the app to make it as easy as possible for people to use the Uber platform to find their polling place and to go vote. You can see what it will look like in the screenshots below.
Glassdoor: This type of socio-political engagement is somewhat new to Uber, which has traditionally built strong relationships with city governments in order to operate. Why the shift in policy and approach? Was this initiative spurred by CEO Dara Khosrowshahi?
Dave Barmore: Our new CEO has really encouraged us to find ways to truly partner with cities and the communities in which we operate. I was personally thrilled to see not only how Dara was committed to this initiative, but our entire c-suite.
Glassdoor: Uber’s Policy Team isn’t one that job seekers hear a lot about. How many people make up the team and what are your backgrounds?
Dave Barmore: Uber’s global policy and communications team consists of about 250 people globally. Our main role is to be the external facing organization for the company. Whether it’s media relations, government affairs or coalition building, we’re constantly out in the field working with our community partners, drivers and riders helping spread the good word of Uber and how it’s impacting communities. Our backgrounds really vary. A lot of us on the policy side come from different government roles, while some of my friends on the media side have either been behind the camera as reporters or at different media agencies.
Glassdoor: What do you look for in applicants to your open roles? What types of skills, experience and expertise are critical for the future of policy at Uber?
Dave Barmore: Uber is a fast-moving environment, so you’ve definitely got to keep the pace. People who are well-organized and able to work well with small teams on interesting and unique public policy challenges would be prime candidates.
Glassdoor: You’re a unicorn, Dave, you’ve been at Uber nearly 5 years. What is it about the company or the team that has kept you engaged for the past 5 years and what excites you about what’s on the horizon?
Dave Barmore: These five years have truly flown by! It’s been such a whirlwind to be a part of a company that has grown from 400 employees when I started to now 18,000. There have definitely been some ups and downs, but what has kept me engaged the most is getting to work every day with some of the smartest and most talented colleagues. I know I’m biased, but I really don’t think you can find a team who is better at their job than ours.
Glassdoor: What advice do you have for the millions of Uber users and riders when it comes to voting? Or what’s your vision for Nov. 6 as it pertains to Uber users and drivers?
Dave Barmore: We take a lot of things for granted in the US, and voting is one of them. Decisions get made by those who show up. At Uber, we wanted to do our part to ensure that all our riders, drivers and employees are engaged in this critically important election.