OHIO, USA — NBA superstar, LeBron James maybe in the middle of the NBA Finals, but he’s also making time to help ensure people can vote. James and the organization he’s leading is now focusing on voters here in Cleveland.
“More than a Vote” is a collaboration of prominent athletes and artists, with the primary mission of fighting voter suppression, anyway they can.
“Voter suppression looks like confusion, it looks like intimidation, it looks like polling locations that have moved and closed,” says Danielle Sydnor, president of the Cleveland Branch of the NAACP. “Really just making it hard for people to vote.”
The most recent program for “More than a vote” is a joint effort with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, titled, “We Got Next.” It’s aimed at filling the shortage of poll workers left by older volunteers who are concerned during the pandemic. The shortage led to fewer polling locations and longer lines in some states during the primaries. In an effort to combat the shortage, the program recruited 10,000 poll workers to help out in electoral districts where they say disenfranchisement and long lines affects black voters.
“I wanted to come on to give a shout out to all of the folks that are volunteering as poll workers in this upcoming election,” said former president, Barak Obama.
Mr. Obama recognized some of the first time poll workers during Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday Night.
The former president continued, “It can be a thankless job. It’s not one of those things that you think about, but it is absolutely vital to our democracy and I appreciate you.”
“We got next” isn’t done yet. Their next step, according to a New York Times report, is targeting even more poll workers where shortages remain. They’re concentrating on 11 cities, with Cleveland being one of them.
“We know that in Cuyahoga County during the primary, we had concerns about polling locations closing because of not having enough poll workers,” says Sydnor. “This bringing in a whole new wave of volunteers is really helping to demonstrate what civic engagement looks like.”