The overwhelming importance for everyone of legal age to get out and vote during the upcoming election isn’t lost on Dallas Mavericks forward Justin Jackson.
“I think everybody realizes this is a very important time right now in the world,” Jackson said on Wednesday. “It’s more important than ever for us to be heard and for us to use that vote and for us to use our voice.”
As part of the Count It Coalition, Jackson, Texas Legends guard Antonius Cleveland, Dallas Wings forward Allisha Gray and PeteBeBallin of Mavs Gaming participated in the Count It Up Celebrity Livestream virtual event on Wednesday. The event helped build awareness and encourage all fans to vote during either the current early voting period or during Tuesday’s Election Day.
The Count It Coalition – consisting of the Mavs, Legends, Wings and Mavs Gaming – is a non-partisan coalition of the North Texas pro basketball teams who are committed to promoting national and local civic engagement, raising awareness and increasing Dallas-Fort Worth voter access and participation for the current election. The Count It Coalition partnered with Gamers.vote – a non-profit organization that supports and encourages the act of participation in voting – in the streaming of Wednesday’s virtual event.
“I voted this year during the absentee ballot,” Gray said. “It was a pretty easy process for me. I’ve been registered to vote, so I was already prepared.
“I did an absentee ballot, filled it out, and then I was able to give it back to my mom and she was able to mail it off for me. I wanted to exercise my right to vote.”
Cleveland, who also played part of last season with the Mavs, registered to vote last December while he was in Las Vegas for the NBA G League Showcase.
“I stopped by the table to register,” he said. “It took about three or four minutes, so I was able to vote here in Dallas. I went to a little place close to home.
“I just looked at early voting (on the Internet) and put my address in and it was a place six minutes away. I went in and it probably took five to six minutes to vote and I was out of there. It was my second time voting – I voted in the last election.”
PeteBeBallin, meanwhile, is anxiously waiting his turn to experience the voting experience.
“This is actually the first time I’m able to vote, so that’s a pretty big thing for me,” PeteBeBallin said. “And I’m happy I’m able to vote now. I know how important it is.”
DJ Poizon Ivy, who is the Mavs’ DJ during games at American Airlines Center, hosted Wednesday’s virtual event. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Ivy explained that this year’s presidential election carries a special meaning for her.
“I voted for the first time as a recently naturalized citizen, so it’s really exciting to be able to exercise that right for the first time,” Ivy said. “I think the numbers are showing that Texas is leading in terms of the young voters’ participation and early voting, so that’s all comforting news there.
“Millenniums and Gen Z make up 37 percent of eligible voters in 2020, so let that sink in. Then look back to 2018, voters between the ages of 18-29 increased their turnout by a whopping 79 percent. And of course, only 48.4 percent of eligible voters – ages 18 to 24 – were registered in 2018, and we’re hoping that we encourage you again to make sure you show up and show out so these numbers can continue to increase.”
The Count It Coalition is encouraging fans to go to mavs.com/vote, wings.wnba.com/vote or texaslegends.com/vote for more information in regards to voting.
“It’s very important for your voice to be heard, and it’s best to use your platform and also encourage other people to vote as well,” Gray said.
Cleveland wants to make sure everyone knows it’s very easy to navigate their way through the voting process, and that there’s absolutely nothing to be intimidated by.
“We all know this election is real important,” Cleveland said. “So I wanted to make sure that I got my voice heard and got my vote in.”
So did Jackson.
“I think for me the biggest thing is obviously using our voice to be heard in this way of voting,” Jackson said. “So for me the motivation is to do all of that for my own perspective.
“I’m excited to kind of see how many young people and how many people are going out there to vote. So it should be an exciting time.”