As the presidential election nears, NBA player and activist LeBron James is furthering his mission to spread awareness about voter suppression tactics and eliminate barriers that stand in the way of individuals exercising their right to vote. James’ nonprofit More Than a Vote has recruited over 20,000 volunteer poll workers.
The voting rights organization led the poll recruitment effort, dubbed “We Got Next,” in partnership with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The organizations focused on recruitment in predominantly Black electoral districts; determined to address the shortage of poll workers in communities of color. During the first game of the 2020 NBA Finals, former President Barack Obama surprised fans and expressed his gratitude for poll workers. “I wanted to come on to give a shoutout to all the folks who are volunteering as poll workers in this upcoming election,” he said in a video. “It can be a thankless job, it’s not one of those things you think about but it is absolutely vital for a democracy and I appreciate you.” The message and support from Obama helped double the number of sign-ups. “Earlier this week, we announced 10,000 of you signed up to be poll workers,” read a post from More Than a Vote on Twitter. “Now, with an assist from @barackobama, we’ve hit 20,000! Let’s keep it going.”
The organization has been leading several efforts to cultivate safe spaces for voting. In August, More Than a Vote teamed up with the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers to transform Dodger Stadium into a polling site for the November election. The partnership with the Dodgers is historic as it is the first time an MLB team has utilized a stadium as a voting center. “We are all in this together,” James said in a statement. “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.”