The Detroit Pistons announced today a number of initiatives aimed at registering voters and increasing turnout during upcoming local and national elections including having its Performance Center serve as a voting location.
Among other moves, the Pistons will make Aug. 4 and Nov. 3 paid days off for staff, players and personalities will star in voter education PSA videos including how to videos for voting by mail, and the organization will build a voter registration page on Pistons.com that integrates with the Michigan Bureau of Elections.
“The Detroit Pistons are tremendous civic leaders and I am proud to partner with them to ensure more citizens are educated voters and active participants in our democracy,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “As we’ve worked with them over the past few weeks to develop this robust and comprehensive partnership, it’s become clear that the Pistons’ commitment to ensuring our elections are accessible to all is a reflection of their dedication to their fans and the entire Michigan community.”
Per the release, the specific voting initiatives include:
- Partner with the Detroit City Clerk’s office and MDOS to designate Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center as a voting “Satellite Center” for the upcoming November 3 election – enabling people to register and vote on site
- Coordinate Pistons employee volunteer program to work the polls in concert with the Detroit City Clerk’s office for both the August 4 and November 3 elections
- Partner with the Michigan Secretary of State’s office on a series of PSA videos utilizing Pistons players, coaches and personalities aimed at voter education, applying to vote by mail and “how to” videos to ensure ballots are filled out correctly and returned properly to be counted
- Build a voter registration page into the Pistons.com website the integrates directly with the Michigan Bureau of Elections so that individuals can register to vote online and submit their application to vote by mail.
- Host live voter registration and education events with non-partisan community organizations featuring information on how to register, vote, complete and return voting ballots
The Pistons organization also received a virtual visit from voting rights activist Stacey Abrams. Abrams was the democratic nominee in the 2018 gubernatorial election in Georgia eventually losing by an exceedingly close margin against Brian Kemp.
Kemp was Secretary of State leading into the gubernatorial election and employed tactics that critics, including this writer, amounted to voter suppression. For those unfamiliar, Kemp refused to resign as acting Secretary of State despite being a participant in a statewide election, kicked more than a million people off the voter rolls, and made it exceedingly difficult for individuals, largely from African American communities, to register to vote. He also hilariously accused his opponents of sabotage despite lacking any supporting evidence, and in 2020 it was revealed the supposed act of sabotage was actually a routine, preplanned security check. Since then Abrams has committed herself to expanding access to voting.
The team released a statement following Abrams’ visit: