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Illustration by Max Fleishman

Let's see if this move drives their message home.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

That’s the mentality behind bringing Friday Night Lights star Taylor Kitsch onto the Ridesharing Works for Austin campaign—just a week shy from the city's election that determine's Uber and Lyft’s fate.

Kitsch, who has been in True Detective, Snakes on a Plane, and Battleship, campaigned in favor of Proposition 1—legislation supported by the ride-hailing giants—on the University of Texas’s West Mall on Thursday. The demonstration follows UT Student Government's vote to endorse the proposition. 


The celebrity endorsement comes at a critical time for Uber and Lyft, following days after Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced his opposition to the proposition. 

Uber and Lyft have threatened to leave Austin if the legislation—exempting the transportation network companies from implementing fingerprint-based background checks—fails to convince a majority of the city’s voting population. Kitsch is Uber and Lyft’s attempt to reach their key millennial user base before the election takes place May 7.

So far the $2 million campaign has invested in TV ads and outreach to drive its message home. Lyft has even offered discounts and free rides valued up to $10 to take Austinites to polling locations. In the first two days of early voting, turnout doubled at the school's two polling locations compared to the presidential primary on March 1, according to the Daily Texan

Uber is no stranger to celebrity love. When a similar battle emerged in New York City last year, some of them spoke out in favor of the ride-hailing company. 

Can Kitsch carry Austin for the ride-hailing industry? We're a week away from finding out. 
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With Austin election nearing, Uber and Lyft debate heats up
The conversation on whether ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft should require fingerprinting for their drivers continued at a town hall this week in Austin, Texas. Hosted by the Austin Forum on Technology and Society, event organizers hoped to educate the public on the upcoming election that will decide the fate of these safety measures—and set the precedent for cases like this around the country.
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