Wednesday, September 30, 2020

MSU Athletics partners with the Michigan Department of State to encourage civic engagement

September 3, 2020
<p>Design by Hope Ann Flores </p>

Design by Hope Ann Flores

With the 2020 United States Presidential Election just two months away, the push to get people to vote continues to grow. Last Friday, more resources became available to the Michigan State community as a partnership between MSU Athletics, the Michigan Department of State, and local election officials including the East Lansing City Clerk was announced.

The partnership focuses on the intention to “encourage civic engagement and nonpartisan voter participation among students, student-athletes, alumni, fans, and employees," according to msuspartans.com.

When announced, the partnership identified four main goals:

  1. An establishment of a virtual town hall meeting in September and October held by the Michigan Department of State and MSU Athletics to help answer any questions voters may have about registration or the voting process.
  2. The support and promotion of satellite voting locations hosted by East Lansing City Clerk Jennifer Shuster where eligible East Lansing voters can register and cast their votes on site.
  3. Encourage members of the MSU community to serve as election workers.
  4. Encourage eligible voters in the MSU community to vote through PSAs and social media infographics from MSU athletic programs.

In accordance with the second goal, Shuster said satellite voting locations will be available to potential voters from Oct. 5 all the way through Election Day. The satellite offices will be located at the East Lansing City Clerk's main office and at the Hannah Community Center.

“Voters will be able to register to vote, apply for an absent voter ballot, receive a ballot, vote their ballot and turn in the voted ballots at the satellite office,” Shuster said via email.

On Sept. 3 the Michigan State men's basketball team shared a video via Twitter that appeared to kick start the social media voting encouragement initiative.

Former Spartan and current Golden State Warrior Draymond Green also spoke on the partnership.

“I’m proud that my alma mater is stepping up and offering a safe and convenient way for the Michigan State community to both register and vote on campus this fall,” Green said in the press release.

And support of the partnership isn't the only thing Green has been up to.

Despite the Golden State Warriors not participating in the NBA bubble, Green has been extremely active in the community bringing attention to social justice issues in the country. This includes the announcement of Green becoming a contributor on CNN.

He made his debut Aug. 28 with Jake Tapper to talk about the NBA’s three-day shutdown in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Green is expected to make more appearances in the future on the network as well as on TNT.

The four major professional teams in Michigan are also taking measures to promote voting for the upcoming election. Yesterday it was announced that Little Caesars Arena, home of the Red Wings and Pistons, will be open for training of 2020 election volunteers. Ford Field and Comerica Park will serve as ballot drop-off locations.

“This makes Detroit the first U.S. city where all four professional sports teams are taking an active, nonpartisan role in supporting this fall’s elections,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said on Twitter on Wednesday.

As for East Lansing, Spartan Stadium and the Breslin Center will not be used for the November election.

“We have our regular four campus polling locations that are set in place for use for the General Election: Brody Hall, IM East, IM West and the Union. We are not using the stadiums for this election,” Shuster said.

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