Story at a glance
- LeBron James partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers to convert the team’s stadium into a polling location.
- This comes as mail-in voting is being debated.
Celebrity basketball player LeBron James has partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team to convert the Dodgers Stadium into a polling site for the upcoming November election, ESPN reports.
Through James’s civil rights foundation More Than A Vote, the MLB stadium will be the first in the country to be outfitted as a polling site.
More Than A Vote, established by James in June, aims to combat Black voter suppression. Other NBA stars, such as Trae Young, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Jalen Rose, are also involved, per The New York Times.
"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," CEO and Dodgers President Stan Kasten said in a press release. "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."
For five days leading up to Election Day on Nov. 3, registered voters will be able to freely cast their ballots at the Dodgers Stadium. ESPN noted there are roughly 1,000 polling stations in Los Angeles.
Other NBA teams have undertaken similar initiatives; the Atlanta Hawks offered its State Farm Arena as a polling site for upcoming elections in late June, and the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons said that they intend to offer up their arenas as well.
James commented on how the two professional sports teams came together to help people of color have ample access to polls.
“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 said in the same news 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."
ESPN also noted that Dodgers player David Price will be assisting with More Than a Vote’s efforts at the stadium.
Voter suppression is the obstruction of the voting process in order to influence the outcome of the election. The ACLU notes that some of the ways voter suppression can occur include voter ID laws, cutting early voting times, felony disenfranchisement laws and gerrymandering.
On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that President Trump’s refusal to implement vote-by-mall to help American voters avoid the coronavirus is a form of voter suppression.
"The reason he does it is because the more people hear something like that, the more they're discouraged to vote," Pelosi said during an interview with CNN. "It's a way to suppress the vote."
Upon the founding of More Than a Vote, James told The New York Times that his organization wants to foster awareness of voter suppression among Black voters.
“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James said. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.”