How Detroit Tigers, Red Wings are helping train election workers and increasing voter awareness

Detroit Free Press

There hasn’t been much activity at Little Caesars Arena in recent months, but it will soon be bustling with activity.

And not for concerts or sports contests.

The Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings have partnered with the Michigan Secretary of State’s office to turn the arena into a training center for more than 6,000 volunteer election workers. The training sessions will include a few hundred volunteers at a time and take place over the next two months prior to the Nov. 3 election.

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“Elections are the foundation of our democracy, and we are committed to doing all we can to support the upcoming election,” read a prepared statement from Chris Granger, president for sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “Not only are our facilities uniquely suited to support the needs of the community and the Secretary of State leading up to election day, our sports teams provide voices to share information and fulfill our civic obligation to encourage all Michiganders to exercise their right to vote on November 3.”

The arena wasn’t needed as a voting center but the state had a “critical need” to find a safe place to train the volunteers during the pandemic, according to Jamie Langdon, Ilitch Holdings’ vice president of communications.

Comerica Park has been made available to host a ballot drop box if the city needs additional locations. The Tigers and Red Wings will also use their social media platforms to share educational information about voter registration, voting by mail, election-day volunteer opportunities and ballot completion.

The Lions and Pistons each previously announced steps to facilitate voting in the upcoming election.

Ford Field will host eight of Detroit’s 12 receiving boards — independent groups created to securely take in cast ballots in the event of a future recount.

The Pistons are turning their practice facility, the Henry Ford Pistons Performance Center, into a satellite center for the election where people can register and vote on site. They are also giving their employees a paid day off on Nov. 3 to ensure they can vote and volunteer as election workers, should they choose.

Ilitch Holdings says it will continue to support any other election needs at the Secretary of State’s request.

“I am grateful to the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers for helping us fill these critical needs this election cycle,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. “Leveraging the resources and unrivaled platforms of these teams will enable us to reach voters and give them the assurance that their elections will be accessible and secure. And I am proud to say that with this announcement, Detroit is now the first U.S. city where all four professional sports teams are taking an active, nonpartisan role in supporting this fall’s elections.”

Follow the Free Press on Facebook and Twitter for more news. Tyler Davis can be contacted at or on Twitter @TDavisFreep.

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