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Timberwolves, Lynx partner on voter registration initiative

Minnesota’s NBA and WNBA teams have partnered on a voter registration outreach initiative that will include three in-person events in the coming weeks.

The initiative, dubbed “Pack the Vote,” was officially launched Tuesday with social media dispatches shared by both the Timberwolves and Lynx. The video shared features several prominent individuals from both teams.

“We really felt like driving the registration conversation and bringing that Pack the Vote platform to under-resourced communities was pivotal now more than ever,” Wolves and Lynx CEO Ethan Casson said, per the Star Tribune.

Online efforts to register people to vote via both online and texting portals will be promoted by the Lynx and Timberwolves. The WNBA and NBA teams have partnered with When We All Vote and I Am A Voter organizations on the initiative.

The in-person events planned for three locations across the Twin Cities will open on Sept. 22, which is National Voter Registration Day.

“Our staffs and the front office, we’re talking about this every single day with our players and frankly we’re proud of our players, proud of our Lynx team, we’re proud they’re using their platform to initiate change,” Casson said. “We want to not only support that change, but we want to be part of systemic change.”

The recent incident involving Jacob Blake — an unarmed Black man who was shot seven times in the back by officers in front of his children on Aug. 23 in Kenosha, Wisc. — unsurprisingly inspired outrage in the NBA’s Orlando, Fla., bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The outcry resulted in three days of postseason games being postponed last week before play resumed over the weekend. It also led to the WNBA, MLB, NHL and MLS electing to postpone games as well.

The decision to strike by NBA players last week led to the league making additional concessions related to the player-led social activism that has played a prominent role in the NBA’s restart. Among the initiatives inspired by the players’ boycott protest was how the league would seek ways for NBA arenas to be used as polling places in the upcoming election.

The Timberwolves and Lynx’s home arena, Target Center, is leased by the teams, as the City of Minneapolis owns it. There are no plans to use Target Center as a polling place at this time, according to a Minneapolis spokesperson.