LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Lakers are mobilizing to help encourage the community to vote in November’s presidential election by putting the Staples Center front and center as a voting center.
“This is what we’re all in this for, we’re gonna be vocal but you know it’s really about action,” said Lakers Coach Frank Vogel.
The players and league announced on Saturday in an unprecedented move that as part of a deal to resume playoff games this weekend, the NBA and its players’ union agreed to use as many NBA arenas as possible as polling places in the 2020 presidential election.
“There’s not gonna be any reason for those people in the L.A. community of L.A. County to not vote,” Vogel said.
Before the Clippers tip-off on Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks, Coach Doc Rivers said he is committed to making sure that the players are taking their civic duty seriously.
“I think 20% of the players voted in the last election, or something like that,” Rivers said. “We’re gonna get them registered here in the bubble, try to get every team registered, every player registered.”
Voters can cast their ballot at the Staples Center starting Friday, October 30 through Election Day, November 3.
The Staples Center will also serve as an official Vote by Mail Drop Box location provided by the L.A. County Registrar’s office for those who prefer to drop off their voted mail-in ballot.
The voter registration and arena plan comes after several games were postponed as players, who have become increasingly vocal about social justice, walked out to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The disparity in voting accessibility and education has impacted many communities throughout the country and so many people are praising the efforts the NBA has taken to inform locals about their voting options.
The Forum in Inglewood will also serve as a Vote Center for the Presidential General Election from October 24 to November 3.
“There’s no question when you make it easier to vote more people vote,” said UCLA Voting Project Co-Founder Chad Dunn. “There are some states — unfortunately looks like it’s going to be four or five, maybe six, that have decided to make it hard to vote, hard for people to deal with voting during the COVID-19 pandemic. So the more you can do in these states — NBA stadiums opening up, other polling locations opening up — making it easier, it’s critical because at the end of the day, what the voters decide is how our democracy ought to work.”
Dunn on Monday will argue in front of a federal appeals court in Texas on behalf of the Democratic party to expand mail-in voting as a safer alternative to in-person voting during coronavirus.
Lakers president and owner Jeanie Buss released a statement in support of the arena voting center plan.
“For our democracy to function, all citizens need to be able to vote in a secure and safe way and we’re very happy to be able to play our part in ensuring that they can,” Buss said.
More information about the Staples Center Voting Center is available on the NBA website.