NBA legend and four-time champion LeBron James is one of several celebrities who have donated money to help Florida felons participate in this year’s presidential election, according to a report from Yahoo Sports. Philanthropist and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg set a goal to raise $27 million to help pay for fees and fines so nearly 40,000 felons in the state could be eligible to vote.
James has contributed to this cause before. Earlier in the year, he donated $100,000 through his “More Than a Vote” campaign, a nonprofit organization that seeks to encourage more Black citizens to get involved in politics, as reported by The Los Angeles Times. The organization also helps educate voters on how they can make a difference in the country’s social justice issues.
“They aren’t just saying, ‘Hey, everybody, let’s go out and vote. They are actually thinking carefully about the underlying issues of voter suppression in the United States,” political science professor Ethan Scheiner stated.
In 2018, the state of Florida restored the right to cast a ballot for around 1.4 million citizens with the help of Amendment Four. This amendment allowed those convicted of felony charges to be able to participate in elections as long as they have served their sentences. However, individuals who have been convicted of murder or sexual abuse cannot have their voting rights restored.
With nearly 70 percent of former felons unable to pay their court debts, which is required to be able to cast a ballot, Bloomberg sought to help these people by creating a foundation to receive donations so court fees could be paid off.
The Los Angeles Laker has been very outspoken about the importance of making voices heard when choosing the next president. He publicly endorsed Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris on November 3. He also protested and helped spread awareness during the NBA Finals for issues like the Black Lives Matter movement.
James is able to influence people from every area of the country, as he has hundreds of millions of fans and followers on social media. Some people even believe his influence may be so impactful that it may be a deciding factor in who becomes the next commander in chief.
“All of the sudden Biden is competitive in states that he ordinarily wouldn’t be. And the things that LeBron’s group have been doing could help push Biden over the edge in those states,” Scheiner stated, according to USA Today.