League Joins Civic Alliance, While MLB Clubs Activate Efforts
To Encourage Voter Registration and Turnout in Local Communities
Major League Baseball has joined the Civic Alliance (http://www.civicalliance.com/), a non-partisan group of businesses working together to build a future where everyone participates in shaping the United States. Founded by the CAA Foundation and Democracy Works, the Civic Alliance cultivates a community of companies united by a shared belief that an active democracy is good for business, and an engaged business community is good for democracy. Through this partnership, MLB is the first professional sports league to have joined this non-partisan group.
In addition, MLB has committed to Time To Vote (www.maketimetovote.org), a business-led initiative to help ensure employees have access to and information about early voting or vote-by-mail options, updating policies to ensure paid time off on Election Day, and supporting employee efforts to volunteer as poll or election workers during the election cycle.
Internally, the Commissioner’s Office will give employees the day off on Election Day in order to allow for greater flexibility to participate to vote, serve as a poll worker, or volunteer in some capacity within the election process. Additionally, Business Resource Groups at the Commissioner’s Office and Clubs are engaging employees in terms of voter education and ways to participate before and on Election Day.
MLB will focus on mobilizing fans and MLB & Club personnel to take an active role in their communities to further civic engagement efforts well beyond the general election. Resources have been provided to support the general efforts of exercising the right to vote as well as promoting Census 2020, including delivering informational toolkits to directors of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) programs and MLB Youth Academies to engage their youth, coaches, and parents/guardians. MLB has also communicated voter education messages to nearly 150,000 parents/guardians of its youth baseball and softball program participants. For fans, MLB recently launched the MLB voter education hub to provide resources to learn more and participate in the voting process at mlb.com/vote.
“The right to vote is a pillar of American democracy, a privilege that we should all appreciate and exercise,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “I’m proud of our sport’s role in encouraging baseball fans and communities throughout the country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process.”
MLB and its Clubs will continue to build upon already announced plans throughout the league, including the following:
- Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Nationals Park in Washington D.C. will be voting centers for the general election, while Comerica Park in Detroit has been offered as a ballot drop location. Miller Park in Milwaukee will serve as an early voting center in late October/early November and will host a voter registration drive-thru on Sept. 22nd in support of National Voter Registration Day.
- Several other teams, including the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, have already hosted voter registration events at their Youth Academy. The Rangers will host another voter registration event at their Academy on September 25th in association with a food donation event with the North Texas Food Bank.
- Additional teams are currently working closely with local officials to announce availability of their ballparks or MLB Youth Academy as polling locations or utilized in other ways during the general election.
- The Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants are providing voter education materials at food distribution events at their Youth Academies and/or ballparks.
- Multiple teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals, have launched or will launch Club sites dedicated to voter education.
- The San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners are partnering with local government officials to distribute voter registration information and promote voter participation. The Padres joined the Rally the Vote coalition along with other professional sports teams. They also utilized their Padres Volunteer Team webpage to post poll worker job listings for the County of San Diego. The Mariners are coordinating with King County Elections to use their social media platforms to amplify messaging around voter registration to reach the County’s goal of 90% participation for the general election.
WHY ACTION ON VOTING?
In a 2018 Pew Research Study, the U.S. placed 26 out of 32 developed nations in terms of voter participation rates. Social distancing due to COVID-19 reduces the capacity of existing polling places, and health concerns will make many buildings – including senior centers, nursing homes, and some schools – unavailable as voting sites. The need to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and other services (e.g., masks, sanitizer, hand washing stations, etc.) to poll workers and voters will require a large number of additional volunteers at polling sites. Many poll workers who’ve served in previous elections will choose to opt out in 2020 due to heightened health risks associated with COVID exposure. Nearly half of the 1,000,000 poll workers in the 2016 election were over age 60, and a quarter were over 70. Top elections experts have suggested that as many as 500,000 new poll workers and elections volunteers may be required to keep the polls open, and thousands of new polling locations will be needed nationwide.
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