- Twenty of the NBA’s teams will convert their facilities into voting centers for the upcoming 2020 elections.
- The effort was boosted after NBA players walked out in demand of justice for the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
- Some arenas are will serve as early voting sites and others will open for Election Day.
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Twenty NBA teams have announced plans to transform their facilities to serve voters in the upcoming 2020 general election.
Several of the league’s franchises will convert their arenas and sports facilities into voter registration drives, early voting locations, and polling places for Nov. 3. The large indoor spaces are expected to provide enough room to accommodate social distancing measures for in-person voting, an alternative to mail-in ballots amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Few teams had proposed initiatives to promote civic engagement after the nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis in May.
But following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last month in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the NBA started making committed efforts to fight racial inequities, after players staged a walkoff and stopped play for two days in protest.
The playoff games resumed after the league reached a deal with its employees comprised of a series of new social justice goals, including converting arenas into polling sites.
Here is a list of all the centers that will serve in the 2020 election.
Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin announced the conversion of the team’s home court into an early voting center in June, following the George Floyd protests.
“If nothing came out of this protest to create change, then we all failed,” Koonin said.
The 700,000-square foot State Farm Arena opened for early voting on July 20 for Georgia’s August 11 primary and will continue to be used for the upcoming 2020 elections.
The venue has become the largest voting precinct in all of Georgia and serves voters in the state’s most-populous county, Fulton County.
Barclays Center will open as a polling site for early voting from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1 and for the general election on Nov. 3.
The arena will become the largest voting center in Brooklyn.
“The NBA players, we need to acknowledge what they are doing,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said at the announcement last week. “They’re using this opportunity to stay part of any agreement of moving forward in sports is to ensure that we allow access to voting. The power of the vote cannot be overemphasized.”
The Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, will host early voting from Oct. 15 to Oct. 31.
“Hornets Sports & Entertainment is committed to doing our part in assisting our community with the electoral process,” Hornets President and Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield said.
Voters in Cleveland will be able to head to the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, home to the Cavaliers, to cast their ballots on Nov. 3.
The indoor stadium will also host National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22 for people in Cuyahoga County.
The American Airlines Center will become Dallas County’s largest polling site on Nov. 3.
The Mavericks unveiled the effort on the first day of its “7 Days of Action” initiative to combat “racial injustices occurring around the country” following the boycott.
The Henry Ford Performance Center, a practice facility for the Detroit Pistons, will be converted into a polling site for the 2020 general election.
“The Detroit Pistons are tremendous civic leaders and I am proud to partner with them to ensure more citizens are educated voters and active participants in our democracy,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said.
The Toyota Center will host voters in the Houston area from Oct. 13-30 and on Election Day on Nov. 3.
“On behalf of the Houston Rockets, and Toyota Center, we are honored to help serve our community by providing a safe and convenient location for Harris County voters for the upcoming Presidential election,” Doug Hall, general manager and Senior Vice President of Toyota Center, said.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors announced that its practice center, Oakland Facility, and the home court for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Kaiser Permanente Arena, will both serve as polling sites on Election Day.
The team also designated Thrive City in San Francisco as a ballot drop-off location.
“With our facilities in Oakland, San Francisco and Santa Cruz all being utilized to support the 2020 Election process, this ranks as our most critical three-pointer of the year,” Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts said.
Home to the Indiana Pacers, the Bankers Life Fieldhouse indoor arena will serve voters as a polling station on Nov. 3.
“This election day, we are proud to partner with the Marion County Election Board to allow Marion County voters to cast their ballot at Bankers Life Fieldhouse,” the facility said.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Forum, an indoor stadium in Inglewood and soon to be home of the Los Angeles Clippers, will become a voting center for the upcoming general election.
“We are thrilled to partner with the LA Clippers and the Forum. This is a slam dunk for civic engagement and voter enfranchisement,” Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder County Clerk Dean Logan said.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Staples Center, home to the Los Angeles Lakers, will be open to voting and drop off mail-in ballots on Nov. 3.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ indoor arena Fiserv Forum will serve as an early voting site from Oct. 20 through Nov. 1.
“The pandemic has added another barrier to voting for vulnerable communities, so this will help us make sure that everyone in Milwaukee has a safe and convenient way to exercise their right to vote,” Milwaukee Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry said.
New York Knicks
Once converted, Madison Square Garden will serve more than 60,000 voters — the largest polling site in New York City. The massive arena, home to the New York Knicks, will be open for early voting and on Election Day.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City Thunder announced that its Chesapeake Energy Arena will hold voter registration drives every Saturday from Sept. 12 to Oct. 4, leading up to the Oct. 9 registration deadline.
Orlando Magic will open its home court to people residing in Orange County as an early voting location from Oct. 19 to Nov. 1.
The Amway Center will also host National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22.
The Veterans Memorial Coliseum, an indoor arena in Phoenix, will convert into a voting station and early ballot drop-off center for the upcoming 2020 elections.
The Sacramento Kings will allow the public to register to vote and cast their ballots from Oct. 24 to Nov. 3 at its Golden 1 Center.
The arena was the first sports professional venue in the state to announce plans to convert into a voting center, according to the NBA.
San Antonio Spurs
The AT&T Center, which will be used as a location for early voting through Election Day, will transform into a “mega-voting” center for San Antonio residents.
The Vivint Arena, home of the Utah Jazz, will serve as a polling site on Nov. 3.
The Capitol One Arena will be available for any DC voter to cast their ballot in the upcoming 2020 general election.
Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns Washington Wizards, announced plans for the effort last month.