Today’s Solutions: November 27, 2021

Citizens in cities across America have lamented the lack of polling stations in predominately African American precincts, and Atlanta is no different. The June 9 primary elections were beset by logistical problems, with many Georgians enduring waits of several hours to vote.

In an effort to help solve this problem, the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks will transform their home arena into a massive polling station for Georgia’s primary runoff election on Aug. 11 and early voting for the general election scheduled for Nov. 3.

The idea was hatched during the weekend after the killing of George Floyd when the focal point of protests in Atlanta was just outside the Hawks’ home arena. Conversations among Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, CEO Steve Koonin and majority owner Antony Ressler quickly coalesced around the idea of turning the playing floor into a voting location.

After taking two weeks to examine the facility’s capacity to host both early and election day voting in summer and fall, the Hawks brought the idea to the Fulton County Commission, which approved the plan.

Neither the Hawks nor Fulton County could offer a target for the number of voting machines they planned to house at State Farm Arena, though the Hawks said the expectation is several hundred. The building, which has an interior of 680,000 square feet, includes a practice floor, several clubs, and dozens of suites, all of which could accommodate voters.

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