Hornets Sports & Entertainment (HSE) today launched a new voting initiative for the upcoming 2020 elections entitled “Swarm The Polls.” HSE’s voting platform aims to educate the public about the importance of voting, inform people on how to vote, drive voter registration and encourage voter turnout.
The Swarm The Polls campaign website, hornets.com/go-vote, contains a variety of information and resources for voters in both North and South Carolina, including links to register to vote, check registration status, find polling places, request absentee ballots and more. Additional activations and promotion will take place on the websites and social media outlets of each of HSE’s entities – the Hornets, Spectrum Center, the Greensboro Swarm and Hornets Venom GT.
“Voting is one of the essential rights that we have in this country, and we want to do our part to ensure that as many people as possible have the ability to participate in the electoral process and make their voices heard,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “If we can use our platforms to help drive voter registration, access and turnout, we are happy to do so. Our chairman has spoken recently about the significance of this topic, and it is one that is of utmost importance to him, our coaches and players, and our entire organization.”
One primary focus of the campaign will be on reaching the area’s most vulnerable communities. Research shows that communities with the highest poverty rates have the lowest voter turnout rates due to two main deterrents: education and accessibility. HSE will be identifying groups and demographics with larger challenges and lower voter turnout, in order to learn what barriers are preventing them from voting and seek ways to assist. Other areas of focus include young professionals and college students who may not be registered to vote or who need guidance on absentee voting in other jurisdictions.
On September 15, Hornets Head Coach James Borrego will host a virtual town hall, with guidance from Rise to Vote, about the importance of voting and promoting voter registration that will be open to the public. The event will include a variety of current and former Charlotte sports personalities sharing their thoughts and stories about voting. Information about how to attend the free event will be on the website at hornets.com/go-vote.
As previously announced, Spectrum Center will serve as an early voting site next month for the first time in its history. Mecklenburg County residents will have the ability to vote at Spectrum Center from October 15-31. Voting hours will be 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m-3 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays. Additional details, including free parking locations, will be released in the future.
Internally, HSE is holding a series of events for staff, as well as players and coaches, that are designed to promote the importance of voting and assist those who need information about how to vote. The organization has also recognized Election Day as an official company holiday and is encouraging employees to utilize the day to vote as well as volunteer at polling sites or within the community.
HSE engaged the North Carolina State Board of Elections, the South Carolina Election Commission and Rise to Vote, a nonpartisan initiative of RISE that partners with sports teams, leagues and athletes to improve civic engagement in the country, in the development of the Swarm The Polls campaign.
The Swarm The Polls campaign is the first piece of a larger social justice platform being implemented by HSE and the Charlotte Hornets Foundation that will also include elements related to economic mobility, justice reform and racial equity.