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LeBron James and President Barack Obama at the White House in 2013. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

NBA star LeBron James' More Than a Vote campaign to increase the number of poll workers in Black electoral districts has recruited 10,000 volunteers since it launched in the summer, the New York Times first reported Wednesday.

Of note: Later Wednesday, James' voting movement received a glowing endorsement from former President Barack Obama, who appeared virtually alongside other NBA greats, including Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Clyde Drexler, and More Than a Vote poll workers during game 1 of the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Obama said he wanted to "give a shoutout to all the folks who are volunteering" for More Than a Vote. "It is absolutely vital for our democracy and I appreciate you," he said.

The big picture: More Than a Vote's "We Got Next" initiative is a collaboration with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

  • The groups said in a joint statement that the next phase would focus on 11 cities "where significant poll worker shortages remain": Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Houston and San Antonio in Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit and Flint in Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Flashback: LeBron James forms voting rights group to inspire black voters

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of Obama's appearance and his remarks.

Go deeper

Restoring the vote to Americans with felony records

Expand chart
Data: The Sentencing Project; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Mass incarceration has fueled Black voter disenfranchisement for decades in the U.S.

Why it matters: More than 5 million Americans are unable to vote because of a felony record, and they are disproportionately Black. The fight to undo felon disenfranchisement laws is gaining ground and could radically shift the political landscape. But progress is also fueling opposition.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Voters of color worry about militias, arrests

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.6% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Fears that armed militias, police or COVID-19 await them at the polls are disproportionately shaping how Americans of color think about in-person voting, according to an Ipsos poll for Axios.

Why it matters: Participation by voters of color could decide whether President Trump or Joe Biden wins, and whether Democrats take control of both chambers of Congress.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

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