Inside the Utah Jazz locker room, veteran point Mike Conley is always ready to offer a bit of advice to the younger players, drawing on his experience in hopes they can learn the lessons he has learned without making the same mistakes along the way.
That’s why Conley wanted all of his teammates to be registered to vote in the upcoming election.
“Voting when I was 18 years old wasn’t a priority. It wasn’t something I took much interest in,” Conley said recently. “We weren’t watching the news or trying to get caught up on the legislation, and candidates’ opinions and what they’re going to try to bring to America.
“As I grew older, I understood how it affected everyone down the line, understood the importance of casting our vote. It was a maturity thing for me. I don’t want it to have to be that way for the next generation.”
So each eligible member of the Utah Jazz took time in recent weeks to make sure they were registered to vote–and they encourage everyone else to do the same.
“Everybody sees the importance of voting even more now,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “Ultimately, that is the vehicle through which you can create change. That’s the opportunity we have in a democratic society to [create change] peacefully. But we have to have more people doing it in order for it to be effective.”
Utahns can register online until Oct. 23. For the General Election, voters have three options: to cast their ballot by mail, during an in-person early voting period, or in-person voting on Election Day. Voting by mail begins Oct. 14 and ends Nov. 2. Citizens can vote in person or drop ballots at polling locations around the state until 8 p.m. on Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 3). This year, Vivint Arena will serve as a polling location for the first time.
Active registered voters will receive a ballot at their residential or mailing address. People should go to www.vote.utah.gov and select “Find My Voter Registration Information” to determine whether they are an active or inactive voter and update their information.
All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell has been registered to vote since he was 18, but the 23-year-old said he has gained a better understanding of that right as he’s gotten older.
“I knew voting was the right thing to do, I just didn’t always know why,” he said. “Over the past five years, I’ve come to understand the importance of it. It’s not just the presidential election, but the local elections where the laws are getting put in place. It’s who’s the governor, who’s the mayor.”
Mitchell and the Jazz have addressed policy and social issues with a number of Utah politicians in recent weeks.
“I’m not the most educated person, but I pride myself in being able to ask questions and ask people who are educated to better myself and further my knowledge,” Mitchell said.
Conley and the Jazz hope others will follow as they prepare to head to the polls.
“If the past few years isn’t more evidence of why you should go out and vote, I don’t know what else can motivate somebody,” Conley said. “But if they see us as athletes—guys who are not just talking about it but we’re going out there and doing it—hopefully people will follow and be more motivated to go out there and make a choice.
“… Some people might feel like their vote doesn’t matter but it really does.”