Political contractors in suburban Philadelphia and Washington say they will use an Uber "first ride free" program to help campaigns, issue groups and other get-out-the-vote efforts bring voters to the polls Nov. 8 election, through a site they're calling called VoterDrive.US (Revised and updated)

Free -- up to $10, which on normal-traffic days would get you an UberX ride to your local urban or suburban voting precinct, if Uber gives rides on its current Philly-area price schedule.  If distance, demand or traffic drives the cost above $10, the voter (or his get-out-the-vote campaign patron) pays the extra.

VoterDrive.US was built as an app extension by Fort Washington, Pa.-based Audience Partners, a holding company for CampaignGrid and other affilates that, since the late 2000s, have helped candidates from both parties (Republicans in several states, Democrats in New York City, for example) to target voters by matching voter-registration data to voters' social-media and Web visits.

The free rides are being marketed to get-out-the-vote campaigns by Apco Worldwide, the Washington, D.C.
"public affairs and strategic communications" consultant that counts Ikea, Microsoft, Novartis, the U.N., United Airlines and UPS as clients.

"It is always exciting to see organizations utilize Uber's platform and products to help move people to the places they need to be," Uber spokesman Matthew Wing told me.

"This fits Uber's ethos, to 'democratize technology,'" Evan Kraus, President of Apco, told me. 
Uber has offered first-time-user voter discounts in previous U.S. and foreign elections.
Kraus says Apco and Audience Partners are using that platform to offer a kind of enhanced voter delivery service: "Instead of forcing consumers to sort all of this out and find a coupon to redeem to get to the polls, VoterDrive is an end-to-end solution: We connect the voters to their own polling station," through Audience Partners' software applications and political and voter databases.

That makes it easier for campaign, party and issue groups to work Uber into their get-out-the-vote efforts, Kraus said. He's encouraging them to pay return trips and any fee beyond Uber's 10 discount, and for return Uber users who wouldn't otherwise qualify for a free trip. "A lot of non-governmental organizations and campaigns are trying to boost turnout. We understand how those groups intersect. We hope we can serve as the connective tissue, taking advantage of the technology and the need."

"We developed the idea. We built it. We are partnering with Apco -- they are a leading firm, they work both sides of the aisle -- and they are helping us promote it," Jeff Dittus, who cofounded Audience Partners and CampaignGrid with partner Rich Masterson, told me. Masterson serves as CEO of VoterDrive.US.

"Voter turnout is low in the U.S.," with two of every five eligible voters typically sitting out even Presidential elections, Dittus notes. "We are combining the on-demand economy, with our voter-outreach program, to find the people who need rides, and work with Uber to give them free rides to the polls."

Uber has previously offered Election Day discounts:
-- In Nov. 2012 it offered $20 free rides to first-time U.S. users on Election Day
-- Last month in South Africa Uber offered 30 rand (about $2) off rides to the polls in major cities
-- In April in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, Uber offered new users free poll rides worth up to 50 rupees (75 cents)
-- In Canadian cities last fall, Uber made a similar offer worth up to $15 (Canadian) each way to the polls for new users;
-- Last November in Texas cities Uber offered voters "a free ride (up to $15 each way).