I’m a bit late on this, since it happened about a week ago, but it’s relevant now, because there are a lot of elections taking place in the coming days. The NFL has recently discussed creating a major voting initiative to educate people and get them to register to vote—and then, of course, to actually vote.
For a country that ostensibly executes a democratic government, a voting populace is the heart and soul of governance, with the will of the people determining who will represent them on a national as well as a local scale.
Unfortunately, the United States lags behind, sometimes significantly, compared to the rest of the developed world, as study after study has shown. In the 2016 election, for example, under 56 percent of voting-age adults actually cast a vote, despite the fact that nearly 87 percent are registered.
That ranks 26th on a list of countries in the developed world, behind places like Germany, Norway, Span, Slovakia, Ireland, Canada, Italy, Mexico, France, Austria, Israel, Hungary, Australia, Denmark, South Korea, New Zealand, and Belgium.
The league’s plans formulated following weeks of conversations with players since the murder of George Floyd in late May, which sparked a wave of protests around the world, and caused many to speak out who had previously remained silent. Pushing to encourage people to allow their voices to be heard, including at the ballot, was one of the core messages Roger Goodell took away from these conversations.
According to the USA Today, the league is hoping for every player and every member of the NFL to register to vote and to vote to serve as an example of the democratic process. There have even been talks about potentially using stadiums as facilities to allow people to register. The league also wants to support players’ initiatives in their own communities, such as what Patrick Mahomes and Tryann Mathieu are doing.
“If we’re able to impact voter registration and give those people a voice and let those people go into their communities and select heir leaders, that’s going to be very important going forward“, Mathieu said. “If you want to change anything, you’re going to have to educate people on what it is they have to do to change things. A lot of times it’s more than just protesting. They really have to find a call to action. I think voter registration can impact a lot of people”.
For many Americans, unfortunately, they can find many roadblocks to voting, including simply not having the time because they’re working, and if mail-in ballots are not an option in their area. Other communities suffer from immense overcrowding of voting stations because others in the area had been closed down. Voter ID laws can also be a hindrance for particularly low-income individuals who find it a financial hardship to obtain the necessary documents to allow them to register.