November 8 is Election Day in Minnesota and across the nation. The NBA announced before the season that no games are scheduled on that day but all 30 teams will play on the night before, November 7, and will use the games to encourage fans to vote in the all-important midterms if they haven’t already done so via early voting.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx this month have been active in emphasizing the importance of voting: Last Sunday the local NBA/WNBA organization held a community event at the Urban League Twin Cities parking lot on the North Side. On Sunday, Oct. 30, the teams will hold a “Get Out and Vote” encouragement event across from the Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services Center, 980 E. Hennepin Ave. from 1 to 3 pm.
These two events are part of “Pack the Vote” that the Wolves and the Lynx launched two years ago to promote non-partisan voter education, voter resources, and digital and in-person voter registration in the Twin Cities and other communities.
Voting is extremely important for all, especially in communities of color, said Timberwolves and Lynx Vice President of Social Responsibility John Thomas. During an MSR phone interview last week, he said, “There’s a reason why people fought for that opportunity” to vote.
Asked if the team’s efforts could be misconstrued as promoting a particular slate of candidates over others, he said, “I think really the message is take every chance you get to take a stand for the things that you like or don’t like,” responded Thomas, who is a Minneapolis native, Roosevelt and Minnesota graduate, and former NBA player. He cautioned all registered citizens against “[sitting] on the sidelines and not exercising our right to vote.”
The November midterms elections are no less important than the presidential elections. “Every single vote matters,” stressed Thomas.
“What it comes down to is we have to educate ourselves on the issues. Who are the people that are making the decisions on our behalf? Who are the elected officials? If you like them and they’re up for office, then you should exercise your right to keep them, because it actually impacts you.
“If you don’t like them,” continued Thomas, “then you should also exercise your right to have them removed from office” by casting your vote.
Key important dates:
- Deadline to register in advance – October 18
- National Vote Early Day – October 28
- Minnesota Early Voting ends – November 7
- Election Day – November 8
Citizens can register to vote in their respective states not limited to Minnesota, and utilize available resources on the Timberwolves and Lynx Pack the Vote website below. The site provides citizens with voter education information, facts, resources and instructions on how to volunteer at polling sites on Election Day as well as access to the voter registration portal.
You can also text the word PACK to 26797 to register to vote, check registration status, and receive reminders leading up to the November 8 elections.
Timberwolves and Lynx Pack the Vote website: www.timberwolves.com/vote
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.