LeBron James Recruits 10,000 Poll Workers Through Voting Rights Organization
James is also working with sports teams to turn stadiums into polling sites.
October 01, 2020 at 9:52 pm
NBA superstar LeBron James’ voting rights organization More Than A Vote announced on Wednesday that it has recruited 10,000 volunteers in the first two weeks of a new poll worker recruitment campaign.
As part of More Than A Vote’s latest campaign called We Got Next, the organization has worked to simplify poll worker registration by creating a user-friendly process for interested participants, according to The Hill.
The organization has also worked to communicate that working at the polls pays a flat daily rate and many cities are providing hazard pay on top of the flat rate during the 2020 election due to the coronavirus.
More Than A Vote’s poll volunteer campaign is a collaboration with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) to support voting efforts in communities of color, specifically among Black electoral districts. The initiative’s aim is recruiting poll workers through paid advertising and a corporate partnership program, The New York Times reports.
Officials with the LDF acknowledged the integral milestone but said there is more work to be done in its poll worker recruitment effort.
“Our overall objective is both to make sure that there are poll workers manning the polls. And also to make sure that voters have what they need and they can make their plans and prepare to vote whether early voting, voting by mail or voting in person on Election Day,” Janell Byrd-Chichester, director of LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute, said.
The nonprofit organization, which debuted this summer, focuses on combating systemic voter suppression. Star athletes like the NFL’s MVP Patrick Mahomes, NBA star Damian Lillard and WNBA legend Lisa Leslie have joined James as founding members of More Than A Vote, CNN reported. Artists like rap icon Bun B and comedian Kevin Hart have also endorsed the movement.
“I’m inspired by the likes of Muhammad Ali, I’m inspired by the Bill Russells and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, the Oscar Robertsons — those guys who stood when the times were even way worse than they are today,” James said in June. “Hopefully, someday down the line, people will recognize me not only for the way I approached the game of basketball, but the way I approached life as an African American man.”
The organization is seeking younger poll workers to operate polling stations to relieve older, more vulnerable volunteers who are more prone to contracting the coronavirus, per CNN.
On Wednesday night, a group of rookie poll workers joined the virtual fan presentation during Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.
"It can be a thankless job,” he said. “It’s not one of those things you think about, but it’s absolutely vital for our democracy. And I appreciate you and hopefully all the NBA fans will appreciate you when they see those shorter lines at the polling places.”
Always look forward to watching the NBA Finals––and tonight I had the chance to thank a great group of first-time poll workers with @morethanavote.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 1, 2020
According to CNN, polling sites nationwide are facing a potential worker shortage as the outbreak persists into the fall. Earlier this year, voting authorities in Georgia reported a dearth of poll volunteers during their primaries.
James and the voting rights organization are also in talks with sports teams to reconfigure stadiums into polling locations. So far, the LA Dodgers have agreed to open their facility as a polling place as well as teams in Atlanta, Detroit and Charlotte, per CNN.
As a follow-up to their successful opening act, More Than A Vote officials said the second phase of their drive is geared toward 11 cities that include Birmingham, Houston, San Antonio, Montgomery, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, The New York Times reports.
If you would like to join LeBron's initiative and volunteer at a local polling site near you, visit this link for more information.