There are about 650,000 Americans living in Canada, and according to Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse “hardly any of them vote.”
When racial unrest erupted in the United States several weeks ago, NBA coaches and players quickly came together to brainstorm ideas to help in the fight against racial and social injustice.
One of the Raptors’ initiatives was a social media campaign to urge Americans living north of the border to vote in November’s U.S. presidential election.
“We thought we could use our platform with the Raptors and make awareness to it, and actually show people how simple it is (to register and vote), tell them what the website is, and kind of keep that message now,” Nurse said.
“Talk about me personally, I would have said when I was younger maybe that I didn’t know how to do (vote), didn’t like either candidate, didn’t think my vote counted enough, whatever, all those excuses — it’s time I think for everybody to exercise their right and we’re happy to help promote it.”
Nurse, who’s lived in four different countries — United States, Canada, England and Belgium — said he’s a typical example of people living abroad.
“I haven’t exercised my right to vote enough over the years. There’s no excuses anymore, so get out there and show people how to do it and pave the way,” Nurse said.
The public service announcement, released Saturday night, features Raptors coaches and players directing Americans to the website FVAP.gov to register for an absentee ballot.
“It’s a simple process… and it gives you the opportunity to make your voice heard even when you’re living in Canada,” assistant coach Jim Sann tells viewers.
A major theme of the NBA restart has been about amplifying social and racial justice messages.
Nurse 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 Nov. 3 election.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 19, 2020.