Thunder announces ’extensive effort to promote voting,’ will use team arena for registration drives

Thunder announces ’extensive effort to promote voting,’ will use team arena for registration drives

The Thunder officially announced Tuesday an initiative to promote voting called “Thunder Vote.”

According to the announcement, the emphasis is on ensuring all eligible Oklahoma citizens are registered to vote, are educated on candidates and issues, and then vote.

The Thunder will hold registration drives inside Chesapeake Energy Arena every Saturday from September 12 though October 4 leading up to the October 9 deadline in the November 3 general election. The team is also working to organize voter registration efforts in Tulsa, Thunder Vice President of Broadcasting and Corporate Communications Dan Mahoney told FOX23.

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Last week, NBA players decided not to play after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Before returning to play, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association agreed on a number of social reform priorities, including a focus on voting and using team facilities for voting purposes.

“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. “Thunder Vote provides citizens with information and resources to help them be fully registered and educated voters. This is a non-partisan initiative to ensure that all eligible citizens in our community have the access and support they need to register, vote and have their voices heard in all federal, state and local elections. This has become a permanent priority of the Thunder organization.”

The Thunder corporate offices at the arena will also make voter registration and other voting information available during regular business hours -- Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. -- starting September 14.

According to the Thunder’s announcement, these are the key provisions of Thunder Vote:

  • Opening Chesapeake Energy Arena for voter registration drives every Saturday from Sept. 12-Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., in advance of the Oct. 9 registration deadline. These events will include free public access to computers, printers, postage and other registration and voting resources.
  • Offering the Thunder corporate offices as a location to pick up voter registration forms and other voting information, Monday - Friday during regular business hours beginning Sept. 14.
  • Educating citizens about and supporting access to alternative voting methods offered under Oklahoma election laws, including early voting at county election boards in the days leading up to elections and absentee voting by mail.
  • Information efforts on issues such as registration deadlines, sample ballots and where to find external candidate and issue information, specifically via the Oklahoma State Election Board’s online OK Voter Portal.
  • An emphasis on ensuring all segments of the community have equal access to voting information and resources.
  • Working to educate young citizens of voting age on the importance of voting and offering them information and opportunities to register with events at schools, college campuses and other locations.
  • Utilizing the reach of Thunder social media, digital and broadcast platforms to spread the vote message. During the Orlando seeding and playoff games, the Thunder has been using its TV broadcast on FOX Sports Oklahoma to provide pertinent voting information.
  • Closing Thunder offices on federal and state election days, allowing staff the day to vote and take advantage of opportunities to volunteer at polling places.
  • Additional emphasis on encouraging participation in the U.S. Census.