WNBA's Chiney Ogwumike reveals she'll be a poll worker during election

Jack Baer
·2-min read

Expanding access to voting has been a major priority among athletes across the sports world this year, and Chiney Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks is taking things a step further.

The two-time WNBA All-Star announced she will be a poll worker in Houston for the 2020 general election on Nov. 3 in an op-ed penned at Cosmopolitan.

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In her op-ed, Ogwumike, who also works as a broadcaster for ESPN, said this will be her first time working at the polls, and that she will do it alongside her sisters, which include fellow WNBA All-Star Nneka Ogwumike. She credited the WNBA for allowing her and her sister to take Election Day off, and did not endorse a specific candidate.

Ogwumike relayed her experience working with LeBron James’ More Than A Vote group as an influence and shared that her uncle worked as a senior adviser on international trade in the Clinton administration.

Texas governor’s ballot box decision influenced Chiney Ogwumike

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 18: Forward Chiney Ogwumike #13 of the Los Angeles Sparks is interviewed after a win over the Dallas Wings at Staples Center on July 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Houston voters might be aided by a former first overall WNBA draft pick on Election Day. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

A native of the Houston area who is still registered to vote in Texas, Ogwumike specifically pointed to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to cut the number of ballot drop boxes to one in each county, even in counties with millions of people:

I am from Harris County, Texas, and I've remained registered to vote there. I'm a Texan at heart, and always will be; I still sport my Texas license plate all around Los Angeles. Last month, I found out there might be only one ballot drop-off box in all of Harris County, the third-largest county in the country with a population of 4.7 million residents (LA County, by comparison, has 398 drop-off sites). When I learned that news, I felt it was only right to go home and do my part on Election Day, helping as many people as possible cast their votes.

Abbott’s decision had previously been blocked by a federal judge, but was later allowed to proceed by an appeals court.

Ogwumike also pointed to the added risk of the COVID-19 pandemic on poll workers, which generally skew toward the older demographics. She concluded her op-ed with three requests: that employers give their employees an opportunity to vote like the WNBA gave her, that others follow her in becoming a poll worker if they can and that those voting encourage others to do it with them.

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