With the help of the Los Angeles Dodgers, LeBron James and his voting-rights group plan to create a polling station for the November election at Dodger Stadium. James’ group, More Than a Vote, set their sights on the historic ballpark after athletic facilities across the country have gained designations as polling stations.
“Dodger Stadium is part of the fabric of Los Angeles, and we’re proud to continue to partner with the County to make the property available for the benefit of the community at large,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said. “Voting is all of our civic duty, and we’re excited to work with More Than a Vote to do anything we can to help get out the vote by making this process as easy, accessible and safe for all Angelenos.”
The basketball superstar created More Than a Vote this summer to fight against voter suppression in African-American communities. Over the five days before the Nov. 3 election, registered voters in Los Angeles County can park for free at the stadium and exercise their right to vote in the facility.
By utilizing the outdoor stadium, county officials can create a sizeable CDC-regulated environment to safely accommodate voters. Making sure to adhere to safety standards was important for James and his voting group.
“I may still be new to L.A. but didn’t take long for me to learn how special the relationship is between the Dodgers and Lakers. We are all in this together,” James wrote in a press release. “I’m really proud we were able to help the Dodgers become the first MLB stadium to open for voting. This is exactly why we created More Than a Vote. A lot of us now working together and here for every team who wants to follow the Dodgers lead and turn their stadium into a safer place for voting.”
James’ reach into expanding voting rights comes on the heels of his activism in response to George Floyd’s murder at the hand of a Minneapolis police officer. After criticizing President Donald Trump, James was famously told to “shut up and dribble,” by Fox News host Laura Ingraham in 2018. In the wake of the controversy, James became more vocal on social media and other outlets, focusing on such topics as systemic racism and police brutality.
Pro Sports Teams Open Their Doors to Expand Voting Locations
While James and the Dodgers garnered national headlines with their announcement, the Election Super Center Project quietly brought together teams from all four major sports to expand voting locations. The non-partisan group has attracted eight NBA teams, several NHL teams, and the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers to open their playing and practice facilities as polling sites.
Although the group began their quest roughly three years ago, the arrival of COVID-19 made finding large, open facilities for safe voting a priority for the Project.
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, a member of the Project, believes that “having additional venues available that are large enough to ensure ample social distancing with extensive health and safety protocols in place is important during this unprecedented time. These supplemental venues ensure people can exercise their right to vote. We will continue to work hard off the court to secure as many large arena and venues as possible.”
The group’s co-chair, Eugene Jarecki, recently noted that the Project’s efforts should enable safe poll access to over one million voters. They hope to expand from 15 teams to 25 teams over the next several weeks in the lead up to Election Day.