Making sure people are able to vote is always a struggle, but the ongoing pandemic is making things especially tough. It’s leading to large numbers of people wanting to vote absentee, and state and local governments are needing to find ways to accommodate that. The city commissioners of Philadelphia and the non-partisan government advocacy group Committee of Seventy partnered up for a particularly cool way of helping people vote: a 1991 VW Vanagon Westfalia.
In an effort to ensure people got their votes in for the state’s recent primary election, the Philadelphia commissioners set up 10 mobile ballot collection sites around the city where citizens could bring their absentee ballots. To make sure people knew they were in the right place and to help publicize the sites, they brought along the red, white and blue Vanagon you see above. The van was referred to as the “Voteswagon” in tweets publicizing the locations. We wish they had also appended the nickname editor Byron Hurd came up with: “Westfaliadelphia.”
VW got in touch with the Committee of Seventy for other details on the van and the mobile drop-off program. The sites apparently operated for the three days leading up to the primary election day, and 5,000 ballots were collected. The president of the organization, David Thornburgh, bought the Westfalia back in 2016, and had it wrapped in the bright colors earlier this year. He has also owned a few other VWs, but this seems to be the first one he has had that has assisted the democratic process directly.