The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday a multilateral partnership to make Levi's Stadium a voting center for the November 3rd election in conjunction with the team's ongoing get out the vote efforts and the NFL Votes initiative to drive voter awareness and turnout. The 49ers have joined with California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, More Than A Vote, and founding partner Levi's® to ensure Santa Clara County residents have a safe and easily accessible location to drop off their ballots, participate in early voting, or vote in-person on election day.
Through the support of each of the partners, Levi's Stadium will fill a need for another in-person voting center where any resident of Santa Clara County can vote in-person or deposit their ballot. The SAP Tower atrium within Levi's Stadium will be open for early voting beginning on October 31st (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and through Election Day on November 3rd (7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.). Featuring free parking at the Great America parking lot adjacent to the stadium, Levi's Stadium previously served as a voting center for the California primary in March. Levi's Stadium will be one of 100 voting centers in Santa Clara County, along with 98 drop box locations.
"Our partnership with Levi's Stadium and the 49ers is another touchdown for democracy this year," Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. "The addition of voting venues that allow for social distancing are critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to be inspired by sports venues opening their doors for new and safe voting options this year and hope it inspires other teams to follow suit as the clock runs down on the November General Election."
"We are excited to partner with Levi's Stadium and the 49ers on a Vote Center at their Santa Clara facility. The Levi's Stadium Vote Center offers an airy indoor environment with plenty of space for social distancing," said Shannon Bushey, Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. "We will be following all recommended protocols to maintain distance, minimize contact and make voting as safe as possible for those who opt to cast a ballot in person."
"The Levi's Stadium Voting Center creates a great opportunity for our entire community to vote early and safely," said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "I am grateful to the 49ers for participating in the important work of supporting the sacred right for all Americans to cast a ballot."
Last month, in honor of the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 49ers joined the NFL in launching NFL Votes, a league-wide, non-partisan initiative that support and encourage the voting and civic engagement efforts of NFL players, Legends, club and league personnel, and NFL fans through Election Day. Partnering on NFL Votes is I am a voter, RISE to Vote, and Rock The Vote. Additionally, 49ers players have met with Reverend Jethroe Moore II of the San Jose Silicon Valley NAACP and discussed voting rights as part of their Subject to Change video series addressing social injustice.
Back in June, the 49ers also announced November 3rd would be recognized as a company holiday, to further ensure all employees have an opportunity to vote and volunteer at a voting center or polling place.
"While 2020 has been a challenging year on so many fronts, I am sincerely encouraged by the increased dialogue and action amongst our staff that I have seen as a result of these trying times," said Jed York, San Francisco 49ers CEO. "We want to do all we can to empower the community and our employees to make their voices heard at the ballot box and we thank our partners on this initiative and the NFL for prioritizing this message nationwide."
In addition to participating in league-supported voter education sessions, for several years 49ers players and staff have recorded public service announcements promoting voter registration, get out the vote, and the 2020 Census, with new ones set to be released in the coming weeks.
"We've been through a lot here in Northern California between the pandemic and the wildfires ravaging our communities, so I'm incredibly proud that our team can work with the Secretary of State and Board of Supervisors to play a role in providing a core civic duty in a moment of crisis," said Addisu Demisse, More Than A Vote Executive Director. "More Than A Vote has been focused on creating safe and convenient in-person voting opportunities for vulnerable communities and by converting Levi's Stadium into a voting location, that's exactly what we're doing here in Santa Clara County."
The naming of Levi's Stadium as a voting center builds on a number of investments that Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) is making to improve access to the polls and engage voters in the democratic process before, during, and after Election Day. This year, LS&Co. is advocating for safe and accessible modes of voting amid the pandemic, working alongside the Levi Strauss Foundation to grant $2.6 million to more than twenty voting rights and engagement organizations, and is once again a leader in the Time to Vote movement to encourage employers to give workers the time they need to vote.
"Democracy only works when people vote. And that means we have a duty not only to vote ourselves, but to help others exercise their civil rights, as well," said Chip Bergh, Levi Strauss & Co. President & Chief Executive Officer. "I'm thankful to partner with such a community-centric organization in the San Francisco 49ers, and I'm proud that Levi's Stadium will be activated as polling center in the upcoming election. This November, thousands more Bay Area citizens will be able to have their voices heard."