Athletes get day off to encourage voter participation

Cory Sparks, Sports Editor

As athletes across the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference sharpen their skills in what is an offseason from competition for everyone until further notice, none of them had practice on Nov. 3.

Tuesday was the last day for United States citizens to exercise their right to vote, and the WIAC made it very apparent that they want students to be able to vote when they canceled practice across the conference for that exact reason.

Photo by April Lee

“I feel the WIAC is promoting a great opportunity to our student-athletes,” UW Oshkosh Track and Field head coach Justin Kinseth said. “It is our civic duty to vote. If missing just one day of practice [is a way] to show solidarity upon the importance of voting, I’m in full support.”

Some UWO athletes feel that it is extremely important for students to have the opportunity to vote, and they agree with the conference’s decision to allow a day for them to do so.

“We [needed] the time to be able to go home and vote in person if that is what we [chose] to do,” UWO sophomore sprinter Rachel Castelli said. “It is very important to vote as an American. Everyone should go out and vote and be a part of the presidential election.”

For those athletes who seemed to be not sure of whether they should partake in such a process this year or not, this absence of practice provided them with one last chance to register and make sure their voice was heard.

“If you are on the fence about voting, you should definitely go and vote,” Castelli said. “If you do not know much about the candidates you need to do some research on them. You should, as an American citizen, have an opinion because the election will affect you and your future.”

Registered on-campus students had between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. to cast their ballots at the Kolf Sports Center, located off High Avenue on campus. Students living off-campus were advised to go to the “My Vote Wisconsin” website by the UWO American Democracy Project.

Everyone had to have either a Wisconsin-DOT issued driver’s license, a Wisconsin-DOT issued identification card, a military ID card issued by the U.S. Uniformed Services or a U.S. passport book/card in order to submit their votes.

The on-campus option for students to vote at Kolf was a rather convenient one for those who have no means of transportation other than walking as the weather turns frigid.

“I feel that it is very useful to have UWO be a location for voting,” Kinseth said. “This will provide an efficient and streamlined opportunity for college students who may be limited travel-wise to go out and vote.”

Coaches deem losing a day of practice a small sacrifice for an important statement to be made by the American citizens on the UWO campus.

“It is important to provide an outlet for our student-athletes to go out and vote,” Kinseth said. “Missing one day of practice is no problem at all.”