More Than a Vote, a voting rights organization led by LeBron James and other sports athletes, is launching a national campaign to recruit poll workers for the November 2020 election. Fueled by the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police, the organization has worked to fight systemic, racist voter suppression.
More Than a Vote is partnering with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), which confirmed the initiative to CBS News on Wednesday. The New York Times first reported on the multimillion dollar campaign.
Janell Byrd-Chichester, the director of LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute, said the partnership aims at mobilizing young people to serve as poll workers in vulnerable Black communities in several states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas and South Carolina.
“Bringing together the cultural influence of the [More Than a Vote] athletes and artists with LDF’s resources and long-standing community engagement, the campaign will seek to connect the spirit of the Black Lives Matter protest to the responsibility of young people to step up and fight voter suppression across the United States,” Byrd-Chichester said in a statement.
The campaign also calls on corporations to give employees a vacation day to vote and or serve as a poll worker, Byrd-Chichester said.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, there are concerns of poll worker shortages throughout the country. Despite states trying to expand vote-by-mail in the primary and general elections, voters are still showing up to cast their ballots in person, which have led to long lines and delays caused by the consolidation of polling locations and election worker shortage. This year’s election is expected to bring record turnout.
Earlier this month, James stressed the importance of voting on November 3.
“November is right around the corner and it’s a big moment for us as Americans,” James said. “We talk about we want better, we want change, and we will have (that opportunity).”
More Than a Vote has worked this summer to make voting more accessible. They partnered with Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and several NBA arenas to convert them into polling sites.
Tim Perry and Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.
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