BALTIMORE, M.D. - Some voters may be riding in style when they cast their vote on Election Day, courtesy of local funeral homes who offering up their limousines.
"The focus is on the seniors but will still provide for those who call," said Dr. Henri P. Close II. "We know it's fancy and that's why we're doing it be the real issue is to get you out there to vote."
Dr. Close owns Henri P. Close Funeral Service in Baltimore and is also the president of The National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association.
"Funeral directors have always been the quiet ones in the background," said Dr. Close. "We were always the Underground Railroad. Our limousines and our cars were always used, even when you go back to Selma when you go back to Montgomery. The funeral directors always provided transportation because people didn’t have that mode of transportation. The funeral home always had that mode of transportation."
Close said the goal of NFDMA is to offer free rides to 300,000 registered voters in Baltimore, Miami, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Kansas City.
"Some people are using their Mercedes," said Close. "Some people are using their sedans; some are using sprinters. Even though it might be huge it’s a limited number of people we're transporting at a time."
According to the organization, the initiative has helped Baltimoreans get to the polls for 25 years, with ridership peaking on election days in 2008 and 2012.
Talking with WMAR, Dr. Close emphasized that transportation is more crucial this year as people attempt to vote safely during the pandemic.
"There are fewer polling places," he said. "so there is a need for transportation. Now we're the above-ground railroad to get people to the polls, no matter where they stand on issues."
Because of COVID-19, the vehicles will be sanitized before and after voters get in. Face masks are required for both drivers and passengers. Vehicle capacity will be limited and the limousines will only transport groups of people within the same household.
For more information on limos to the polls and a request form click here.
This story was first reported by Dave Detling at WMAR in Baltimore, Maryland.