MLB helping efforts to Get Out the Vote

The offseason is only a few days old, but with election season in full swing, the past week has been a busy one for Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs.

Voting resources

Joining most large corporations in the United States, MLB has been supporting voter education, registration and turnout, and civic engagement, ahead of Tuesday’s general election. By partnering with the Civic Alliance, a nonpartisan group of businesses working together to build a future where everyone participates in shaping the United States, MLB has expressed support of the shared belief that an active democracy is good for business, and an engaged business community is good for democracy.

This support is spread across the country, in nearly every Major League market. Individual clubs have implemented their own local grassroots efforts, including turning their ballparks into polling locations, voting centers and ballot drop-off or ballot processing sites. Seven clubs — the Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, A’s and Nationals — have designated their ballparks as sites to support election efforts, while the Royals and Nationals have also held events at their Youth Academies – in Kansas City, the facility is being converted into a polling location, and in Washington, D.C., that academy is a voting center.

Additionally, the Reds and Astros distributed voter education materials at events taking place at their youth academies, while the Rangers held a registration event at their youth facility.

Clubs also implemented their own activations. In Baltimore, the Orioles celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and recognized the history of voting in the United States by introducing the Voter Up campaign, to share voter registration information, key deadlines and additional resources with fans leading up to Election Day.

Three pitchers participated in the Yahoo Sports Voting Playbook, which enlisted top athletes from each state to offer step-by-step instructions on how to register to vote: Lucas Giolito (White Sox), Kyle Freeland (Rockies) and David Price (Dodgers).

The Yankees partnered with the Board of Elections in the city of New York to host Bronx poll worker training on four consecutive days from Oct. 20-23 in the Great Hall at Yankee Stadium. On a yearly basis, there must be training for 10,000 poll workers in the Bronx, and given the needs of the agency to train workers while maintaining appropriate distancing, Yankee Stadium opened its doors to provide space for approximately 200 poll workers over the four-day stretch.

In Cleveland, the Indians, Browns and Cavaliers formed a three-team alliance to encourage people to get out and vote. They ran a video prior to the Wild Card Series and throughout the postseason on digital platforms.

The Marlins’ Promote The Vote Auction benefitted their foundation’s Election Day Voting Initiative with Feed The Polls, which will provide 2,000 meals at select polling locations in Liberty City and Little Havana on Election Day. Feed The Polls is a partnership between The Infatuation, Zagat and The Migrant Kitchen, with the mission of offering free and healthy meals to voters waiting at the polls on Election Day.

Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen, who has played his entire career in the state of Pennsylvania, filmed a spot to promote and educate people on how to complete and mail in their ballots.

Pirates pitcher Keone Kela supported voter registration at an event in South L.A. on Sept. 27 with Social Justice, Inc.

The Giants used their parking lot to register voters. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they converted half their parking lot into a popup food bank, in partnership with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. Up to 2,000 people per week came to the food bank, and starting in September, they were able to register to vote on site.

Also, Giants team attorney Matt Valdez spearheaded a voter registration drive in San Francisco on Sept. 30, and several front-office staffers worked the registration tables in several Hispanic neighborhoods.

The Rangers joined an initiative called Let’s Vote Texas, a partnership with the Cowboys, Mavericks, Spurs, Dallas Wings, Austin FC, San Antonio FC, Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash, along with the Texas NAACP, Texas League of Women Voters and Texas Lulac. The group created videos for social media posting, messaging and information that was dispersed across all platforms.

The Padres and Mariners partnered with their local government officials to distribute voter registration information and promote voter participation. The Padres joined the Rally the Vote coalition, and utilized their Padres Volunteer Team webpage to post poll worker job listings for the County of San Diego.

The Mariners coordinated with King County Elections to use their social media platforms to amplify messaging around voter registration, to reach the county’s goal of 90 percent participation for the general election.

The Brewers and the city of Milwaukee Election Commission hosted the first statewide voter registration drive-thru at Miller Park on Sept. 22, in support of National Voter Registration Day. The massive country-wide effort focused on educating citizens about the voting process and registering them to participate in local and general elections.

Nationals Park, Oracle Park and Oakland Coliseum featured When We All Vote digital billboards to promote voter registration and turnout.

Additionally, Business Resource Groups at the Commissioner’s Office and its clubs have engaged employees in terms of voter education and ways to participate before and on Election Day. Most recently, a program entitled “Yes – Your Vote Matters!” featuring guest speaker Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of Advancement Project, was hosted for business resource group members.

MLB has committed to Time To Vote, a business-led initiative to help ensure employees have access to and information about early voting or vote-by-mail options, updating policies to ensure paid time off on Election Day, and supporting employee efforts to volunteer as poll or election workers during the election cycle.

Internally, the Commissioner’s Office has given employees the day off on Election Day in order to allow for greater flexibility to participate to vote, serve as a poll worker, or volunteer in some capacity within the election process.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.