It was announced today that the Atlanta Dream joined the Washington Mystics to announce that they have partnered with seven fellow Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) teams to take their on-court competitiveness to a new platform in launching, “Unite the Vote,” an effort for each team to register as many voters as possible in the month between August 18 – September 18, 2020. The friendly competition among these nine teams to engage their respective fanbases to register to vote is in partnership with When We All Vote, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization on a mission to increase participation in every election. When We All Vote is supplying each team with personalized registration links and providing real-time data uploads of completed registrations to the leaderboard.
The nine WNBA teams which are participating are the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Las Vegas Aces, Minnesota Lynx, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, Seattle Storm, and Washington Mystics.
“Unite the Vote” is being launched on August 18, 2020, the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment which constitutionally extended suffrage to women but it was unequally applied to Black women, particularly those living in the Jim Crow South. It would not be until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that all Black women secured that right. As these milestones towards greater enfranchisement are passed, the women of the WNBA understand there is still much work to do to ensure all who are eligible get registered, become educated on the issues and turnout to make their voice heard.
“Advocacy has always been in the DNA of the WNBA, both within our teams and our players,” said Alycen McAuley, Senior Vice President, Team Services, Washington Mystics. “While we are competitors on the court, we’re collaborators in our communities – and we are honored to work alongside our fellow teams to help raise awareness around the importance of voting and participating in our democracy.”
Increased attention on civic engagement and social justice issues have been a hallmark of the 2020 season for the WNBA. This season has been dedicated to Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman killed by police in her home in Louisville, Kentucky in March 2020, for which none of the involved officers have yet been charged. Athletes across the league have used their platform and reach to speak out on social injustices, in a more focused fashion since the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 31, 2020 which sparked global outcry.
For “Unite the Vote” fans are asked to visit www.UniteTheVoteChallenge.com, pick their favorite team and use their team’s personalized voting portal to register to vote. Regardless of which state the fan may reside, they will get accurate information on how to register – whether they can do so online, need to fill a form, print and mail it to local elections officials or can do so in person – and can see which team is ahead on the leaderboard. Fans are also encouraged to send the link to their friends, family, and associates to drum up the numbers for their favorite team. Throughout the month, teams will use their social media platforms to exchange in friendly banter to express the urgency for increased action to get more people to register.