Indianapolis motorcycle club encouraging early voting with ride-in event

317 Ryders MC

NDIANAPOLIS — Since early voting started in Marion County, the line has pretty much wrapped around the City-County Building. But that won’t stop a local motorcycle club from their upcoming early voting campaign.

Motorcyclist Lisa McMillian is casting an open invitation to Marion County voters. She’s a longtime member of 317 Ryders, where her husband, Jimmie, serves as president. They have organized an “Early Voter Ride-In” for Oct. 17 that is not just for motorcyclists, but non-riders who want to participate in their vehicles, as well.

“It’s important to get out and vote now more than ever and to let your voice be heard, no matter who you are,” said Lisa McMIllian. 

317 Ryders are used to good turnouts for their club events, so now they hope to draw an even bigger crowd. They organized a voting campaign in 2016, but this year’s election is more important to them and all voters across the country. 

Lisa McMillian has taken voting seriously for as long as she can remember. It’s something that was taught in her family. She and fellow members also hope other motorcycle club riders show up and bring a friend. They are requiring that each participant bring their updated identification in order to take part in the event. 

“We are going to meet up at Lafayette Square and ride together there and come down here to the City-County Building to actually cast our votes,” she said.

Community involvement is nothing new for 317 Ryders. They have taken photos for their archives after participating in yearly events like the Circle City Classic Parade. Their members have also been huge supporters of local students through partnerships with schools and teachers.

Motorcyclist Austin Coakley hopes for a good turnout, remembering his very first time voting as a student.

“I was in high school, I had just turned 18. I felt like I was important. I felt what I had to say to mattered to other people,” he said.

317 Ryders Vice President Avery Oliver takes voting extremely seriously. He shared after growing up in Alabama, where he said he witnessed voter suppression, so the ride in hits home. He watched his grandmother’s battle for voting rights. Part of his job as vice president is to make sure every participant is safe and knows the rules. 

“We will strictly tell them to distance, have your mask on, be ready to ride and don’t gather in big, large groups,” he said.

Oliver anticipates long lines to vote during their ride-in event. It’s something early voters like Tara Moore didn’t let turn her away. She came out of the City-County Building cheering about getting her vote in early. Moore spent a little more than 30 minutes standing in line for early voting Wednesday morning. 

“Coming downtown is not as hard as people think it might be. I work downtown,” Moore said.

“We have to make the vote count,” said Lisa McMIllian. “We can all encourage, just like we are doing, to get a group together and get people in the community together so we can get this voting done.”

People participating in the 317 Ryders Early Vote Ride-In will meet at noon on Oct. 17 in the parking lot of Lafayette Square Mall. Vehicles commonly known in the motorcycle world as “trail cars” are invited to the event as well. The procession to the City-County Building in downtown Indianapolis will start at 1 p.m. All participants are required to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

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Source: WTHR 13