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The Power in a Vote

Oct 16, 2020

TEMPE -- Four hundred and seventy-five student-athletes registered to vote. Four hundred and seventy-five student-athletes' voices will be heard.
Olivia Miller, an ASU junior softball player and Arizona local, is leading the charge to ensure every eligible student-athlete is registered to vote.
Her efforts began this summer and her call for action was heard. Miller's efforts around the upcoming election have successfully encouraged and provided resources to student-athletes to vote, resulting in 100% of student-athletes on 13 ASU sports teams being registered to vote.
 "I think it's important for student-athletes to realize that we have this platform and we should be able to use it in ways that stretch far beyond just being an athlete," says Miller.
Miller's passion for voting is in her blood. Some might say she's following in the footsteps of her grandmother, who works at the Maricopa County Election Office. Miller says the second that she was able to register to vote, her grandmother was at her house with a clipboard in hand ready to register her.
Her passion continued to be fueled through her high school career in yearbook class when she was 16-years-old and classmates came to school with their "I Voted" stickers on their shirts. Miller said that her yearbook teacher was very influential in her thoughts on civic duty.
"Just kind of the weight of the world right now, it put me in a spot in May and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, what can I do?' I felt like I wasn't doing enough and I know what I could do and I was like, 'Where can I start? What am I passionate about? What do I know?' So I started working with ASU and doing this voting initiative," said Miller.
Kim Desimone, special assistant to the athletic administrator for Sun Devil Athletics, who Miller described as her go-to girl, has been an ally for Miller.
Desimone, daughter of a political science major and college athlete, has grown up believing in the importance of politics and sports.
"Olivia, her passion is out of this world and it is like how can I not help her? It is so refreshing to see somebody her age care that much, and want to mobilize and inspire people to understand the system that we have in place, and why it is so important to vote," said Desimone.
The duo combined their drive and devotion to bring this initiative to fruition.
With the help of the Pastor group at ASU and Desimone's help gathering data to track the registration through Turbo Vote, the two advocates were able to put the initiative into full swing.
"It was almost like when you are playing a game and you are in a tournament, and you are one step closer to getting that championship game and we were like, 'Yes! We got it! Yes! We got it!'"said Desimone about the progression of the initiative and the success of student-athletes registering.
Kiara Kennedy, a senior softball player and Miller's teammate on the field and for the initiative, has helped her throughout this process.
She noted that social media played a huge part in the initiative catching momentum within the athletic teams.
Kennedy saw a competition between the teams for who can be 100% registered, and once competition was involved, the numbers of student-athletes registered to vote jumped.
Miller wants people to vote for the values they believe in, whether it is right or left.
"Your voice matters. Your vote matters. I can't make people care, but I can certainly try," said Miller.