ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - In a plan to give more registered voters the opportunity to exercise their rights, the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association announced at its annual conference that it will drive more than 500,000 Americans in almost every state to voting polls this year, according to the Associated Press.
The NFDMA, in partnership with the Urban League and the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, began the program in Maryland six years ago. According to the AP, around 375,000 people in 45 states were driven to their polling places by participating funeral homes last year.
Baltimore funeral director Hari P. Close II told Associated Press the program is a "way to use the limousine at a positive time, instead of a sad one." He continued that the program is an opportunity for people to exercise their right to vote, regardless of ethnicity, religious background or political beliefs.
Clarence Glover, a Cincinnati funeral director who uses his limousines for the service, said that the program is a way to help elderly and sick voters to the polls on Election Day. He told the story of carrying a woman - wheelchair and all - down her apartment stairs to the car and drove her to her polling place. "She told us that was the only way she ever would have been able to get to vote," Glover told the Associated Press.
Funeral homes participating in the program will request that customers not schedule services on Election Day in order to keep their vehicles available for voters in need of rides. Those interested can call their nearest Urban League or NAACP, or a local participating funeral home, to schedule a time.