Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and More Than A Vote (MTAV) formally launched the “We Got Next” advertising campaign aimed at recruiting young people to serve as poll workers during the 2020 general election. Watch the ad here.
The organizations launched the campaign with an ad that will premier tonight during Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals along with LDF and More Than A Vote webpages directing users to sign up to serve as poll workers. Both the websites and digital advertising will directly link users to sign up as poll workers via Power the Polls.
“We Got Next” combines the cultural influence of the MTAV athletes and artists with LDF’s resources and long-standing voting rights expertise and community engagement in a nonpartisan effort to recruit young activists to work at polling locations in vulnerable Black communities across the nation with a focus on Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.
“We want every Black voter to be able to participate in this election. That means we need to ensure that our polling places are open and staffed beginning with early voting and through Election Day,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s President and Director-Counsel. “It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately hit Black communities. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to this deadly virus. For decades, we have relied on our seniors to staff polling places on Election Day. This year, we are making the call to young people to serve so that we can protect our vote and protect our seniors during this pandemic. This is an important, powerful, and urgent call to action to serve our communities in one of the most consequential elections in our lifetime.”
“COVID has made the inadequate voting infrastructure that many Black people already deal with in a normal year an even greater challenge to overcome in 2020,” said Portland Trail Blazers Guard and MTAV Member CJ McCollum and WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike. “That’s why More Than A Vote focused on converting dormant sports arenas and stadiums into voting locations and it’s why we’re now asking young people to step up and serve as poll workers in our communities. COVID understandably scared off a lot of older poll workers, but if we do our job we can fill the void with the young people who have been demanding change all summer and make sure no vote is suppressed due to long lines or confusion at the polls on Election Day.”
The growing poll worker shortage is particularly dire in communities of color, where voters already face an inadequate voting infrastructure. The traditional pool of poll workers relies heavily on older Americans — the very population most at-risk to coronavirus. Nearly 60 percent of poll workers are senior citizens or retirees. The COVID-related shortage already caused problems during the second half of the primary season and threatens to jeopardize equitable voting opportunities in the general election.
Narrated by McCollum, the spot intersplices footage of athletes using their platforms to demand change with that of activists past and present marching for and demanding justice. As McCollum implores viewers to take advantage of the momentum created by the activists who have demanded change during the summer of 2020, visuals of young people setting up and staffing voting precincts takes over. The spot ends with the explicit call to “become a poll worker” and directs viewers to sign up at more.vote/next.
In addition to the 30-second spot running during the conference finals, the campaign will feature both a 45-second version narrated by Ogwumike and a 15-second version running on digital platforms. The 30-second ad can be viewed here.
“We Got Next” is funded through the generous contributions of corporate partners including Bumble, Cash App, Diageo North America, and Patagonia.
In addition to providing financial support for the campaign, the campaign’s corporate partners are stepping up in substantive ways to drive people to serve as poll workers. The NBA will air the spot nationally during the NBA Playoffs and partner with MTAV and LDF to encourage fans to work the polls on social media, while Patagonia will provide employees with four paid days off to serve as poll workers during the early voting period and will close all US operations and stores on Election Day.
Watch the 30 second spot:
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multidisciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.