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Kerr says ease of Chase ballot drop-off a 'symbol of Bay Area'

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Steve Kerr left home Saturday morning, hopped into his car and drove over to Chase Center, where he pulled into his parking space, grabbed an envelope, got out of his car and started walking with a purpose.

The Warriors coach headed not toward the gym, but to a box to drop off his voter’s ballot.

Once again, sports and politics are integrating. Once again, a coach who realizes his willingness to express views will alienate some sports fans remains committed to expanding his presence beyond basketball.

While some implore Kerr to shut up and coach, he rejects such narrow confinement.

“I know that when I played, players and coaches were rarely asked about politics or voting,” he said. “But the times are different. Our country is in turmoil and everybody plays a role. If we’re truly a democracy, then ‘We the People’ ... that’s the key phrase in the constitution. So, who's that? That's us. It's not somebody making decisions for us. It's us making decisions about who we're going to elect to help lead our country.

“This is the most important part of that process. As a coach, or as an athlete like our players, it feels more like a responsibility than an effort to try to balance anything. This doesn't take away from the fact that we're in there grinding every day trying to be a great team.”

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The Warriors haven’t played a game since March 10 and won’t play again until next season starts, whether it’s late December or sometime in January. They are among many teams to dedicate resources and facilities to the voting process.

Chase Center is a drop-off location through Election Day on Nov. 3. The franchise also will use its former headquarters in Oakland on the fifth floor of the Downtown Marriott, as well as its G League facility in Santa Cruz, as polling sites and ballot drops.

“It's a good way for us, as a company, as a team, an organization, to remind people that we're not just a basketball team,” Kerr said. “We're, hopefully, an asset to the community. And we want to be able to help people and, hopefully, win a bunch of games in the process and keep everybody entertained. But we like to think that we’re an important part of the community and we need to prove that by doing things like this.”

As Kerr, 55, stood speaking near the corner of Third Street and Warriors Way, a steady flow of cars and pedestrians came through to drop off ballots, either to volunteers standing curbside or directly into boxes set up beneath a pop-up tent. Some posed to take pictures with the coach, others simply waved or shouted greetings.

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Kerr’s wife, Margot, and two of their adult children, Maddy and Nick, also pulled up to drop off their ballots. Nick, one of the team’s video coordinators, ultimately went into the arena’s practice floor to assist second-year guard Jordan Poole with a workout.

“I’m glad that we’ve made it easier [to vote] here in San Francisco,” Kerr said, “because there are lots of places in the state, and the country, that are doing the opposite, making it more and more difficult to vote.

“This is a symbol of the Bay Area. Regardless of who you're voting for, let's give everybody the right as easily and conveniently as possible because people deserve that.”