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Behind the Kansas City Chiefs' push to make Arrowhead Stadium a polling place

Arrowhead Stadium Safety
Posted at 5:00 PM, Oct 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-25 23:39:35-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In a year filled with efforts to end racism and police brutality, following the death of George Floyd these calls for equity and justice landed in the heart of Chiefs Kingdom.

Chiefs players like quarterback Patrick Mahomes and safety Tyrann Mathieu lifted their voices to bring attention to issues sparking protests across the country. That passion and energy is now showing up at the polls.

They participated in a viral video online calling for social change along with other star athletes.

On Tuesday, Nov, 3. Arrowhead Stadium will serve as a polling location for the 2020 general election.

So how did this come about?

"A few of us were sitting around the conference table, a few of us were on a Zoom call and we said, 'Can we vote at Arrowhead?' 'Could we utilize the stadium to do that?'" Chiefs President, Mark Donovan said. "A lot of work has been done. A lot of education, understanding, everything that goes into that and there's a lot, but we're really excited about creating a place where everyone from Kansas City, Missouri can come vote and really excited about making it the biggest polling station here in Kansas City."

The team is partnering with the Kansas City Election Board and the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation, which purchased some of the voting machines that will be used.

"You know, it's not only going to be used for this election and this voting season, but also be used for 10 more years so it's truly a community investment," Marques Fitch, Executive Director for the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation said.

Want to vote at Arrowhead on Election Day? You can if you meet the following criteria:

  • Registered voter
  • Kansas City address
  • Live within Jackson County

"We actually went out there to look at the site that we would be using to make sure there's ample space, proper social distancing," Kansas City Election Director Shawn Kieffer said. "Just to plan out exactly where we would have our machines at, where we would set up our check-in tables, where the voters would line up and so forth."

Arrowhead Stadium has been in high demand by polling workers who want to work the election at the venue.

"It's funny. I've had people volunteer to work that. I've had many people ask if they could work out there. We're going to use some of our most seasoned people just so we can ensure that voting is as smooth as possible," Kieffer said.

Polls at Arrowhead Stadium will open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. Eligible voters who are in line by 7:00 p.m. will be able to cast their ballot.

Voters who are planning to vote at Arrowhead Stadium should park in "Lot M" between Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadium and will use the Founder's Plaza entrance to access the polling location on the CommunityAmerica Club Level inside the stadium.

"One of the reasons that we believe it has such a powerful point of focus for us is it's truly non-partisan," Donovan said. "The ability to get involved with something today, in this world, that gives everybody the oppportunity and is equal. What we're suggesting is, get out there and vote. Exercise your right."

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority will run express buses from the stop at East 12th Street & Charlotte Street in Kansas City, Missouri, to Arrowhead Stadium throughout the day.

The Chiefs will close their offices on November 3rd to ensure that members of the organization can vote and even work the polls if they choose to.

With more than 30 years at the Kansas City Election Board, Kieffer loves seeing the moves his hometown team is making off the field just as much as their moves on the field.

"I'm eating this up all the way. I'm a big Chiefs fan. I just love everything about it," he said.