Eagles

Rodney McLeod proud of his efforts to increase voter turnout in Philly

Eagles

A week ago today, the Eagles closed their NovaCare Complex facilities in an effort to allow all their employees the chance to vote.

So Rodney McLeod made the most of it.

The Eagles safety, through his Change Our Future foundation, loaded up a double decker bus along with his wife and several teammates and set out on a mission to encourage voters, pump some energy into Election Day and thank poll workers throughout the city.

“Tuesday was monumental,” McLeod said.

McLeod, 30, said a big emphasis was to get into neighborhoods where voter turnout wasn’t very high in 2016 and encourage as many folks as they could to vote. They also tried to provide some hot chocolate, tea and coffee to poll workers to show their appreciation.

“So it was a great feeling just to see how prideful the city of Philadelphia was that they voted, and to bring some excitement and energy into 2020,” McLeod said. “Especially surrounding voting where anxiety was at its all-time high and everyone had been kind of enclosed and just kind of down, and we brought music, we brought excitement, we brought the Eagles into those neighborhoods. I was proud just to see me, as African-American man, my community vote in a manner that we did.

“It was a very memorable day for me, and I'm just grateful to be a part of it. But like I said, to see Philly have the turnout that we did and know that we did affect this election. Everyone, I think across the nation, is looking at Pennsylvania and Philadelphia and just kind of celebrating because of it."

 

Pennsylvania and Philadelphia became a focal point of the entire presidential election. As votes in the city and surrounding suburbs were counted late in the week, they gave former Vice President Joe Biden his first lead over President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania and eventually led to the entire race being called.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Trump actually performed better in Philadelphia in 2020 than he did in 2016, but Biden still took 81% of the vote (as of Saturday afternoon) in the city and it helped him clinch the election.

In any case, voter turnout for the 2020 presidential election was way up. Around 160 million people voted in 2020, which is a turnout rate of 66.9%, the highest in over a century, according to Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who specializes in American elections.

So you can understand why McLeod felt a sense of pride contributing to get more folks out to vote. On Monday, he was asked if this was the most significant thing he’s done off the field since joining the Eagles in 2016.

“I think it probably is up there,” he said. “We know how important this election was to us all, regardless of who you voted for, that was shown in the amount of people who voted across our nation. It felt good just to do something different, kind of a change the culture and maybe shape the culture surrounding voting, and how maybe we should look on it moving forward. It was a memorable moment.”

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