Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse says Scotiabank Arena will be utilized as a voting registration centre in advance of the upcoming United States election.
Nurse, who is one of several NBA coaches and players involved in a campaign that is encouraging Americans to vote, made the announcement during a media availability Thursday afternoon.
He said approximately 35,000 out of 650,000 residents in Canada eligible to vote in the U.S. election in 2016 chose to do so.
“It’s just got to be better than that,” Nurse said.
Although the dates haven’t been finalized, he said Scotiabank Arena will be open for one or two days during the week of Sept. 28. The U.S. election is on Nov. 3.
“That’ll be sometime later in the week, so that’s very cool on everybody’s part to do that,” Nurse said.
The registration centre opening coincides with the U.S. government’s absentee voting week proclaimation, which runs between Sept. 27 and Oct. 4.
According to a statement posted on the U.S. Embassy and Consulates website, voter registration and ballot request deadlines are as early as Oct. 5 in some states. Americans were encouraged to complete a federal post card application.
“Many U.S. elections within the past ten years have been decided by a margin of victory of less than 0.1 per cent,” the statement said.
“If you have never voted while overseas before, it’s not too late. The process is easy.”
The push to vote by Nurse and others has been a major theme of the NBA restart, which has been about amplifying social and racial justice messages.
Nurse previously said police and voter reform were two of the main themes that have come out of player and coach discussions.
Three NBA teams — Atlanta, Detroit and Milwaukee — have offered their arenas as polling stations for the election.
Meanwhile, any eligible U.S. voters in the Greater Toronto Area with questions about registration were encouraged to email VoteToronto@state.gov.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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