Taking Thunder VOTE into the Community

For most high school campuses, Sundays typically aren’t filled with much action or excitement. However, all those who drove the pathway leading up to the entrance of US Grant High School this Sunday were greeted with the familiar enthusiastic energy of Thunder entertainers. The Thunder partnered with Oklahoma City Public Schools to hold a drive through voter registration event in South Oklahoma City on Sunday. Every attendee could drive up, fill out a registration application, request an absentee ballot or change their registration information all without leaving their cars.

“We wanted to take the voter registration out to where people are,” said Thunder Vice President of community relations Christine Berney. “Go into their neighborhoods, communities, pick a few spots that people are familiar with and set up shop there. We have that in addition to the ones that we’re doing at the arena.”

For the past three Saturdays, the Thunder has opened the doors of Chesapeake Energy Arena for people to register to vote, request an absentee ballot or simply check their registration information. This Sunday, the Thunder took those resources into the community. In addition to Thunder staff volunteers, several students from US Grant’s National Honor Society dedicated their Sunday afternoons to help in the effort to register eligible voters in their community. Even though most of them hadn’t turned 18 years old themselves, that didn’t stop them from helping others in the process or in recognizing the importance of voter registration.

One student in particular had a special connection with the Thunder. Miguel Quiroga is a graduate of the Forward Thinking Leadership Development Program led by Thunder General Manager and Executive Vice President Sam Presti.

“It was a really, really awesome opportunity,” said Quiroga, a junior at US Grant. “I learned a lot of new things. We talked about resilience, which is very important in today’s community and today’s people.”

Quiroga’s leadership skills were on full display on Sunday as one of five students from his school to serve as volunteers and translators for the Thunder’s drive through registration event. With his classmates and community in mind, he explained why voting and registering to vote is important to him and why he sacrificed two and a half hours of his weekend to be at school.

“It’s very important especially for the kids that come to this school since most of them are from the Latinx community. They’re minorities and their voices should be heard and what a better way to demonstrate their voice than from voting,” said Quiroga. “It’s going to be a great honor for me to do it once I turned 18.”

US Grant is the largest inner city school in the state with over 1,500 students and it’s usually during this time of the year when Gregory Fredrick, the principal at US Grant, is working to make sure that all of his students of eligible age are registered to vote either through their classrooms or a school registration drive. However, with the uncertainty the school year has faced, those options haven’t been available for him or his staff. This made the Thunder VOTE registration event on Sunday all the more meaningful.

“It means everything,” said Frederick, who is known to his students as Mr. Fred. “The publicity and the good feels that come along, obviously with Rumble dancing, really just makes people want to come out and take advantage of the opportunity. We’re very thankful to have [the Thunder] here.”

The Thunder will host two more community voter registration drives leading up to the October 9 deadline to register to vote: on Friday, October 2 at Guthrie Green in Tulsa and on Sunday, October 4 at the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City. In addition, the Thunder will hold one final arena registration event on Saturday, October 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena before the deadline to register.

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