Voting is one of the most important powers we as citizens have the privilege to exercise, and for this voting cycle, there have been high levels of encouragement from not only politicians, but also companies and sports teams at the collegiate and professional level, urging citizens to exercise that power.
The men’s basketball team exercised its right to vote, some for the first time, this past Saturday, Oct. 24th in the Finneran Pavilion. In doing so, team members set an example for the school community, some of whom are also voting for the first time, to make sure to vote and make our voices heard.
Laura Manion, the Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations at the University, helped organize the team’s voting so that it was a smooth process, getting the team to “the finish line.”
Each member of the team received his absentee ballot, meaning that the players could officially cast their votes for not only the presidential election, but also for state and local elections. Additionally, each person could answer any questions which posed on the ballot.
Villanova players were not the only ones who voted on Saturday, as head coach Jay Wright was right there with them.
“What a powerful day as we set the tone to make our voices heard and celebrate a few first-time voters,” Wright tweeted.
Threaded onto Wright’s tweet, some players offered their own comments on what it means to vote. For most of them, it will be their first time participating in a presidential election, and being a first-time voter comes with excitement and nervousness.
“First time voting will be something I will never forget,” sophomore guard Justin Moore said. “Knowing that my vote truly matters and that I had a huge responsibility to help make a change in this society is special.”
Other sophomore guards offered their thoughts on the meaning of their vote and the feelings which they experienced while voting.
“I love my country, my freedom, and the best way I could show that was by voting,” Chris Arcidiacono said.
Meanwhile, Bryan Antoine said that he “was nervous but more excited. My first time being able to vote in a very meaningful election and making an impact my own way.”
Junior forward Cole Swider also voted for the first time
“It felt amazing to vote for the first time,” he said when reflecting on the importance of this election in American history.
Swider also expressed support for his teammates and coaches for exercising their respective right to vote, and encouraged “everyone to get out and vote for the change that is needed.”
Seniors Jermaine Samuels and Collin Gillespie are also first-time voters. Both student-athletes stressed the importance of voting in this election particularly.
“We are all about to be a part of one of the biggest elections in our history, and I am just grateful to be a part of that,” Samuels said.
“In such a critical time, it is important to get out and vote to play a role in picking the right leader for our country,” Gillespie added.
Professional athletes around the country are advocating for all eligible voters to go out and exercise that right. Villanova Athletics has made it clear that it also supports the sentiment of increasing voter turnout, no matter political party affiliation.