In an effort to increase youth voter turnout this November, all Foot Locker-owned stores in the U.S will become temporary voter registration sites starting September 22, the company said Friday. The registration sites include Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Champs Sports and Footaction locations.
Each of the company's more than 2,000 stores will house a kiosk with a special website where visitors will can check their voter status, register to vote or sign up for election reminders. Foot Locker said the initiative is geared to the more than 4 million young Americans who become eligible to cast ballots this year.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced civic groups to come up with new ways to reach young voters,. Volunteers would typically flock to college campuses, concerts and festivals, but those activities have been suspended, and groups now have to use digital platforms.
Foot Locker said its effort will target 18- to 24-year-old customers, of which 4.3 million follow the retailer's Instagram accounts.
CEO Richard Johnson said the project, run in partnership with the nonprofit Rock the Vote, is an effort to "educate and amplify the voices of today's youth."
The shoe store's move comes as many states are seeing increased youth voter registration. In Minnesota, registered voters between 18 and 24 rose 12% compared to the last presidential election, according to a poll from Tufts University. That same poll showed that youth registration has risen 15% in California, 28% in Georgia, 26% in New Jersey, 23% in New Mexico and 32% in Vermont.
Other organizations that typically wouldn't use their facilities as a polling place or voter registration site are also opening their doors. The NBA's Houston Rockets will use their arena, the Toyota Center, for a registration drive this month. Arrowhead Stadium, home field for the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, will become a polling place November 3, as will a small pizzeria in Madison, Wisconsin, and a comedy club in Atlanta.
"In these challenging times, laughter is more important than ever, but so is voting," Lara Smith, who manages the club Dad's Garage Theatre told Business Insider. "So that's why we wanted to open up our facility as a new polling site."
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