Nick Saban, other sports figures sign letter urging Manchin’s support of Freedom to Vote Act

Nick Saban talks Georgia
Nick Saban talks Georgia(WBRC)
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 12:53 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West and other West Virginia sports figures have signed a letter urging West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin to pass the “Freedom to Vote Act”.

The signees include Saban, West, Oliver Luck, Darryl Talley and Paul Tagliabue.

Saban is a native of Fairmont, West Virginia, West played for the WVU men’s basketball team and had an extensive NBA career as a player and executive, Luck played football for West Virginia and served as the school’s athletic director from 2010-14, Talley played football at WVU and for the Buffalo Bills and is part of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame and Tagliabue is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was the NFL Commissioner from 1989-2006.

“We strongly support urgently needed legislation that will protect both the rights of voters and the integrity of outcomes in all Federal elections,” the letter states. “The Freedom to Vote Act, which you sponsored with Committee Chair Senator Klobuchar and other colleagues, effectively addressed these goals. Now we also support your leadership in shaping legislation to secure our democracy by protecting integrity, principled Presidential transitions and our national security during transitions.

“We come from some of our Nation’s most popular sports leagues, conferences and teams. Some of us have roots and shaped our lives in West Virginia, others followed very different paths and some of us have been rivals in sports or business. But we are all certain that democracy is best when voting is open to everyone on a level playing field; the referees are neutral; and at the end of the game the final score is respected and accepted.”

The letter highlights two important topics in “election open to all Americans” and “impartial conduct and score-keeping”. The signees believe it is important for all Americans to have the equal opportunity to vote by either casting a lawful ballot, including robust in-person, early and absentee voting options.

Elections open to all Americans: Our democracy is at its best when all Americans are encouraged to participate. We support measures to provide voters with a range of opportunities to obtain and cast a lawful ballot, including robust in-person, early, and absentee voting options. We support the use of election security, equipment and record-keeping measures that are reliable and evidence-based, and clearly support the integrity of election processes.

Impartial conduct and score-keeping. Election administration and vote certification must be nonpartisan, professional and transparent. State legislators and other officials cannot apply or change rules, standards or procedures, prospectively or retroactively, in a manner that may nullify Federal election results by excluding voters or overruling voter choices.”

The letter ends by stating support for Senator Manchin and the pledge to encourage others to support Senator Manchin.

“To complement your efforts to have the Senate enact balanced and widely supported legislation, we will encourage others in sports, business and other endeavors to join with us in endorsing the concepts set forth in this letter. We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this manner.”

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