Last Thursday, Dec. 7, the NFL’s Miami Dolphins announced that each and every player on the team was now registered to vote, fulfilling a June goal.
Then on Monday night, Dec. 11, the Dolphins beat the heavily-favored first-place New England Patriots, 27-20.
Does being registered to vote give a pro-football player the skill and stamina needed to take down the coaching/quarterback duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady? Nah, it’s probably just a coincidence. Even so, the team’s example of positive civic engagement off the field couldn’t be more valuable in the current political climate.
America’s track record when it comes to participating in the democratic process leaves a lot to be desired. Only 60.2% of eligible voters cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election. While some people decided to sit this one out, about half of all eligible nonvoters weren’t even registered. Earlier this year, Pew Charitable Trusts published a report on what keeps people from getting registered to vote. Though some just say they’re not interested in voting, Pew found that millions of people want to vote, but either haven’t gotten around to it (27% of those not registered), find the process too inconvenient (9%), or don’t know how to get registered (6%).
By making a public show of how easy it is to register, the Dolphins are reminding the public to register themselves and to make sure their voter information is up-to-date. But most importantly, they’re showing that the value of participating in the democratic process begins with signing up.
Getting registered to vote isn’t a partisan issue either. The Dolphins, like most workplaces, is made up of people with a variety of political viewpoints. Quarterback Jay Cutler has gone on the record as a Trump supporter, while a group of his teammates has expressed shock and concern over the president.
Dolphins management teamed up with the Drum Major Institute, a justice-centered advocacy organization, to make sure players had the necessary info to become registered.
“Today, we celebrate the fact that every player on the Dolphins roster is a registered voter,” said DMI’s Martin Luther King III, in a statement. “What makes this truly special is that this voter registration effort, which was begun by [Dolphins wide receiver] Kenny Stills, has been spreading throughout the NFL and other sports leagues. As my father often said, that short step into the voting booth is the longest stride for democracy.”
If you’re one of the 21.4% of eligible Americans not yet registered to vote, feel free to take a second and follow in the footsteps of the Miami Dolphins by clicking here.
Share image by Chris Trotman/Getty Images.