OKC Thunder launches voting initiative
The Oklahoma City Thunder announced a new initiative Tuesday called Thunder Vote, which will aim to ensure that all eligible Oklahoma citizens are registered to vote, educated on issues and candidates and prepared on how to cast their ballots.
The Thunder will hold voter registration drives inside Chesapeake Energy Arena every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Sept. 12 to Oct. 4. October 9 is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 3 general election.
"Voting is an absolute cornerstone of our democracy and the Thunder is proud to help spread the message of the importance of registering and voting," said Christine Berney, Thunder vice president of community relations.
The NBA players' strike last week prompted the league to announce two commitments that should enhance voter turnout.
First, the NBA and its network partners will produce ads during playoff games to promote voting. Second, team owners will work with local election officials to convert arenas into voting locations in November.
The Thunder was told by the Oklahoma County Election Board that there was no need for a multi-precinct voting location, and that it could actually disrupt the process.
Dan Mahoney, the Thunder's vice president of broadcasting and corporate communications, said the organization is willing to work with the Election Board in the future if a need arises.
Chesapeake Energy Arena will instead be used for voting drives. There will be access to computers, printers, postage-paid envelopes and other resources for citizens to register to vote.
The Thunder will also have voter registration material available at its corporate offices at the arena during regular business hours beginning Sept. 14.
The Thunder will close its offices on federal and state election days, allowing staff the day to vote and volunteer at polling places.