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Colonial Athletic Association and University of Delaware athletics aiding the next generation of voters

SportsCAA NewsColonial Athletic Association and University of Delaware athletics aiding the next generation of voters

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REVIEW

The CAA initiative, CAA Votes, is an effort by the conference to get student-athletes registered to vote.

BY
Managing Sports Editor

The University of Delaware and its conference, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), partnered to provide assistance and resources to student-athletes in registering to vote in the upcoming Nov. 3 elections.

The CAA put into place the CAA Votes initiative, which offers online resources for student-athletes on voting and voter registration. The initiative encompasses all 10 of the CAA-affiliated schools, with each respective institution developing its own strategy to get students registered.

“[The initiative] provides the resources needed to actually register,” CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said. “We’ve been supportive of the overall initiatives and let institutions handle it with how they best see fit.”

Delaware softball’s Chayanna Gallardo served as the student-athlete representative for the University of Delaware on the CAA committee that worked alongside the schools.

According to Gallardo, the CAA’s initiative started in the spring, after the social unrest following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. She and representatives from other schools knew that voting in the upcoming election would be more crucial than ever.

The university’s program consisted of a TurboVote competition that took place over the week of Sept. 15. The program was offered to all students and student organizations on campus, including athletics.

Participants were given a URL link that they could share with other students, as well as other people. The link assisted individuals in checking on their voter registration and helping people get registered whenever necessary.

Of the 20 sports teams at the University of Delaware, seven teams are fully registered to vote, including the women’s basketball team.

Over the past several months, the women’s basketball team has been involved in many conversations and movements on topics of social injustice, equality and most recently voting. During the summer, the team was instrumental in the passing of Executive Order 41, which banned chokeholds by police officers in the state of Delaware .

Head Coach Natasha Adair described her own education on voting as a driving factor for making it a priority to help get her student-athletes registered to vote, with an emphasis put on understanding who candidates are both at the local, state and federal levels.

“We talked to our players back in June about being that team that’s registered to vote, being the team that educated around voting,” Adair said. “Don’t just pick a party because that’s what your family is doing, know the why.”

Assistant coach Mykala Walker took the lead in helping their athletes know the registration deadlines for their respective states, making sure they were registered and making sure athletes from outside the state of Delaware had access to an absentee ballot.

The effort to get student-athletes registered is one that now comes down to Election Day, which is less than two weeks away. A study conducted by the United States Census found that in the 2016 election, people ages 18 to 29 had a 46.1% voting rate — the lowest of all age demographics.

In various aspects of government, candidates who are elected to positions of power within the government often affect both the current generations and future generations of people to come. An increase in the college vote is what Adair thinks is vital to the policies that are put in place that will affect this group of people and those that come after.

“The younger vote, we saw it directly affect the last election and if you look at the shortage of young people voting I think that could have maybe changed the outcome,” Adair said. “Our young people have to make sure they know who they’re voting for from governor, to mayor, to representatives.”

It still stands to be seen whether or not more of the “college vote” that Coach Adair described will hit the polling places. Nevertheless, early voting is underway.

As of Friday Oct. 23, over four and a half million people have already voted in the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Elections Project.

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