The Timberwolves and Lynx will be partnering with multiple organizations in the Twin Cities to increase voter registration throughout the area in a new initiative they’re calling “Pack the Vote.”
As part of the initiative, the franchises will be promoting online efforts to register people to vote through an online portal and texting options, in conjunction with When We All Vote and I am a voter, as well as organizing three different in-person events beginning Sept. 22, which is National Voter Registration Day.
“We really felt like driving the registration conversation and bringing that Pack the Vote platform to under-resourced communities was pivotal now more than ever,” Wolves and Lynx CEO Ethan Casson said.
This is part of the organizations’ commitments to enhancing social inequality and combatting racial injustice both renewed after the death of George Floyd.
Last week, the NBA and Players’ Association announced they would being taking tangible efforts to fight social injustice with one tentpole of that plan being to encourage NBA teams to use arenas as polling places. The Wolves and Lynx don’t own Target Center – they lease it from the city of Minneapolis -- and a city spokesperson told the Star Tribune recently there are no plans on its part to use Target Center as a polling place. But these efforts were a way for the Wolves and Lynx to join that fight, Casson said.
“Our staffs and the front office, we’re talking about this every single day with our players and frankly we’re proud of our players, proud of our Lynx team, we’re proud they’re using their platform to initiate change,” Casson said. “We want to not only support that change, but we want to be part of systemic change.”
The Wolves and Lynx have given their employees a holiday on Election Day, Nov. 3, and have partnered with the organization RISE to use sports as a vehicle to fight inequality. RISE is helping provide voter education information through an online portal the Wolves and Lynx are helping design that will allow easy access for voters to register.
The Wolves and Lynx will help organize three events, one each in South Minneapolis, North Minneapolis and St. Paul with the goal of registering people to vote in as safe a way as possible given social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. The teams are also working with the Secretary of State’s office to gauge potential volunteer opportunities around assisting with mail-in voting and becoming election volunteers.
“The core is to bring this registration to the forefront of the conversation,” Casson said. “Provide those resources and the education that makes this available in most communities and then provide the portals, and websites and outlets to continue that all the way up to the election.”