GOTV efforts kick into high gear with bike rides and more across Philly

Volunteers from

Volunteers from "Cycle to Vote" on Sunday rode 11 miles around the city to remind folks to vote in the 2020 election. (Ximena Conde/WHYY)

Ask us: What do you want to know about voting and the 2020 election?

With only days to go until Election Day, get-out-the-vote efforts in Philadelphia were everywhere this weekend.

“This is just our last opportunity to encourage people, support people, inspire people to have their voice heard,” Lauren Kahn, co-founder of Cycle to Vote, who was doing outreach on Sunday.

On Sunday, Kahn and a group of 15 cyclists planned to ride 11 miles across the city. They started at LOVE Park, where they got into their GOTV shirts, and were slated to ride through North, West and South Philly neighborhoods.

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She and Chuck Matthews, the other co-founder, met by chance while biking in June. While talking on Lincoln Drive, Matthews and Kahn realized they wanted to harness the new wave of activism inspired by the fallout from COVID-19 and George Floyd’s fatal shooting at the hands of police.

The pair have been cycling around the city since, answering questions about voter registration and requests for mail ballots.

More than 90% of eligible Philadelphians have registered to vote this year, a 35-year record high. Kahn and Matthews say that’s worth celebrating, but the work isn’t done until those who registered cast their ballots.

According to Kahn, the group of cyclists has distributed more than 200 GOTV shirts and 2,500 buttons with a focus on “people who have had barriers to voting or needed some extra help or Black and brown communities where the vote has been suppressed.”

Cyclists begin their GOTV effort at LOVE Park
Cyclists began their GOTV effort at LOVE Park. (Ximena Conde/WHYY)

Similarly, the Fletcher Street Urban Riding club, also known as the urban cowboys, planned to ride from their stables in Strawberry Mansion to West Philly.

In 2016, Pennsylvania went to Trump by just 44,000 votes. Those doing outreach ahead of the election have one message: Every vote in the commonwealth counts.

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“It’s important that everybody gets out and votes no matter who you’re voting for, just to get a sense of where we are [as a country],” said Matthews.

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