Rodney McLeod’s voting initiative includes fun events

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Rodney McLeod is bringing a party atmosphere to Election Day.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ safety and his wife, Erika, developed a “My Voice My Vote” initiative in partnership with their Change Our Future Foundation to support and encourage civic engagement and voting in the city.

“We want to make voting popular. We want to make voting cool,” McLeod said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “And so we’ve decided to turn it into this pep rally and encouraging voters. We’re going from various sites throughout the city, bringing a DJ, tying in city officials, other Eagles players, other influencers to kind of rally behind and support everyone who has taken the time to go out and vote.”

The nonpartisan initiative focuses on voter activation, education, and community organizing. The McLeods are amplifying the importance of the right to vote through various campaigns leading up to Nov. 3. They will provide free shuttle service to polling locations in North Philadelphia. On Election Day, they’ll ride a double-decker bus throughout the city, encouraging voter turnout and providing meals to volunteer poll workers.

“We want to show a little love to the poll workers for the amazing work and commitment that they’re doing,” McLeod said. “Without them, none of this will be possible. So we’ve decided to support some small businesses in the local area and be able to hand out meals and beverages, coffee and tea to make the time a little more lighthearted and go by a little easier for them.”

McLeod is in his fifth season with the Eagles after playing his first four with the Rams. He went from undrafted rookie out of Virginia in 2012 to starting every game he’s played (104) since the 2013 season. He’s been a key member of Philadelphia’s secondary and a team leader helping lead the fight for racial justice and equality.

McLeod’s foundation has been delivering 40,000 pounds of fresh food to local communities monthly and also helping people in those communities register to vote and understand the laws surrounding mail-in ballots.

“It’s a very important election,” McLeod said. “We wanted to be advocates for voter education, voter awareness, making sure that people are getting to the polls. … It’s important that people understand all of the laws that are in place, where their polling sites are, deadlines.”

The NFL and NFL Players Association launched voting initiatives in August. On Wednesday, they reported 90 percent of active players are now registered to vote, with several clubs reporting 100-percent player registrations.

The Eagles are one of several NFL teams who’ve opened up their stadium as a ballot drop-off location on the days leading up to the election.

“Exercising our right to vote is the most powerful tool we have as citizens of this country,” Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie said.

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