Scotiabank Arena cancels plans to allow Americans in Toronto to register to vote
The Scotiabank Arena has cancelled American voter registration amid COVID-19 concerns after previously announcing that U.S. citizens would be able to register to vote in this year’s presidential elections.
“In consideration of the ongoing public health crisis facing the world and the evolving situation in Toronto and Ontario...a planned voter registration event at Scotiabank Arena will not be held in person. Instead, voters are urged to request their ballots online,” read a release by the Toronto Raptors.
As part of the NBA's commitment to encourage civic engagement, teams have been volunteering their resources and facilities for election-related events across the U.S.
However, given the restrictions on indoor gatherings, it was decided that hosting large groups of people at the arena would not be appropriate, the release explained.
The Raptors' plan to open the Scotiabank Arena as a U.S. voter registration site has been cancelled due to COVID concerns. pic.twitter.com/7VUEVK76iU— Raptors HQ (@RaptorsHQ) October 1, 2020
U.S. citizens are encouraged to register to vote online by requesting their ballots ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
“I know firsthand how easy it is to register for an absentee ballot – I did it on my computer during our time in the NBA bubble and it was really fast and simple,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said in the release.
“We would have loved to have had the chance to see voters in person, but it’s important to remember that we’re still facing a global pandemic, and we have to look out for the well-being of our community.”
According to the Federal Voting Assistance Program, only 6.9 per cent of eligible overseas voters returned a ballot during the 2016 general election.
“We all know from these past months that it’s possible to make a big impact online - and that’s what U.S. citizens living in Canada can do,” said John Wiggins, Raptors vice president of organizational culture and inclusion.
“Yes, we’re disappointed about not moving forward with our in-person event. But we hope this reminds would-be voters that they can request their ballot without leaving their homes, while staying safe and healthy.”
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