Indulge me for a minute: I’m going to talk about politics vis a vis the NBA.
Don’t worry. I’m not about to start an argument about Supreme Court justices, the USA’s role in the Israel/Palestine conflict, or the merits of the death penalty. But I will talk about the one thing that (nearly) every political organization agrees with: YOU SHOULD VOTE TODAY.
The NBA community has come out in force advocating that people head to their local polling place (or ballot dropbox if you’re in Oregon). Steve Kerr co-authored an article on the theme yesterday for Sports Illustrated, Kevin Durant is voting for the first time since 2008, and Gregg Popovich said “Just go vote for Beto” a few days ago. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg — from ESPN’s Malika Andrews:
Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Steve Nash had voter registration tables at their respective charity events in September and October. The New York Knicks had Hall of Fame player-turned-politician Bill Bradley speak to the team. Rookie Marvin Bagley III brought a group of students into the Sacramento Kings’ locker room and talked to them about the importance of voting. New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry discussed voting with his players at a practice. Brogdon broached the subject with teammates. Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul partnered with Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote” campaign to encourage citizens to vote. Some players have even hit the campaign trail, with Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo speaking at a rally for Indiana senator Joe Donnelly.
Okay, so assuming the NBA players have convinced you, what do you do next? Here are three easy steps:
Step 1: Figure out where to vote
If you’re in Oregon you can find the nearest ballot dropbox at this site. And they don’t close until 8:00 p.m.!
You can also vote in person in Oregon at your county’s election office, according to Multnomah County’s “Voting in Oregon Guide.” (Downloadable here, with addresses of county election offices.)
Outside of Oregon
If you live outside of Oregon www.vote.org is your best bet to find a polling place. Note that some states will allow you to register at the polls and cast a provisional ballot!
Outside of the Country
If you’re a US citizen living abroad it’s too late to request a ballot for this election, but Vote From Abroad .org has all the details to help you get your ballot anywhere in the world for the next election. The crucial detail to remember is that if you’re a citizen you can vote, even if you haven’t lived in the US in decades.
Step 2: Figure out who to vote
Don’t be like Kevin Durant (good life advice, in general, I suppose) and let a lack of information stop you from voting.
With proper vetting, the Internet is a great resource for quickly figuring out how to vote. One Google search can call up endorsements from local organizations. Find a RELIABLE group that you trust and start by reading their advice. Oregon’s entire voter’s pamphlet is also available online, and Vote 411 can help you preview your ballot if you live in other states.
But maybe don’t listen to your crazy uncle on Facebook?
Step 3: Go actually do it
It only took me about 20 minutes to fill out my ballot and drop it in the mail. The polls don’t close until 8:00 in many states so if you work an 8-5 you will have plenty of time after work to get it done. Some states even allow paid time off for employees to head the polls.
If you experience any kind of problem at your voting place (e.g. someone tries to intimdate you or stop you from voting) you can report it by calling 866-OUR-VOTE for help.
What about #StickToSports?
I appreciate that some people want their NBA time to be unencumbered entirely by politics, but the bottom line is that the is a multi-billion dollar business and it’s impossible to separate the two.
A brief list of examples of the NBA colliding with politics: Bill Walton was an active anti-Vietnam War advocate during his time in Portland, Arvydas Sabonis couldn’t join the Blazers because of the Cold War, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Craig Hodges were both heavily criticized for their politcal views as active players, Chris Dudley leveraged his NBA earnings and fame into a gubernatorial bid, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ family owns the Orlando Magic, Herb Kohl was a sitting US Senator while also owning the Bucks, NBA arenas (including the Moda Center!) often rely on public funds or tax/land deals, global warming has been wreaking havoc on sports for years and increasingly erratic weather patterns will threaten more NBA games, etc.
With that in mind, please go vote today!