Pac-12 to help student-athletes with voter registration, mail-in ballots


As part of broader social justice & anti-racism efforts, the Pac-12 Conference announced on Wednesday an initiative to help student-athletes register to vote and obtain mail-in ballots.

The program was initially proposed by head basketball and football coaches around the league and was unanimously approved by the Pac-12 Council. 

In an official news release, Washington Huskies football coach Jimmy Lake said, "For many student-athletes, this is their first opportunity to participate in an election," highlighting the importance of the program.

"As members of our community, it is crucial that we not only educate our young men and women on the importance of voting and how to register, but to also help them understand the many dynamics of voting on the local and federal levels. Change will only happen if we take action. I encourage our younger generation to use their voice by exercising their right to vote.”

It’s imperative that our student-athletes understand the importance of exercising their right to vote, a right that many have had to fight so hard for. I believe the youth will be responsible for the majority of the change we seek surrounding social justice and anti-racism. Their voices must be heard, and actively participating in the electoral process is a solid next step.

Charmin Smith, Cal women’s basketball head coach

This all adds to the voter movement encouraged by the NCAA and its partners. In June, numerous schools began to announce they would be giving their student-athletes the day off from sports on November 3rd so they can get out and vote.

Soon thereafter, the NCAA encouraged all its 1,100 member colleges and universities to do the same.

The following month the Pac-12 announced the formation of the Social Justice & Anti-Racism Advisory Group, a group that "will be charged with developing and driving the Conference’s anti-racism and social justice initiatives in concert with member universities, including leveraging the collective efforts of all 12 universities and holding the league accountable to action."


"While we would normally be focused on getting ready for a season, the reality is we all have a lot more time than we otherwise would and it is great to see our coaches get involved like this as we need to take full advantage of this opportunity as if we were executing a game plan," said UCLA redshirt freshman quarterback Chase Griffin. "Though it is an important action, voting is just a first step in addressing many of the issues we see today. Moving forward, both players and coaches need to ask themselves internal questions. What are their values? What changes do they want to see in their communities? In the world? For many of us, this is our first election to participate in and we need to be prepared and get involved."