Following Jacob Blake strikes, NBA to turn its arenas into polling stations

After committing to donate $300 million to support racial justice earlier this month, the NBA distinguished itself yet again as one of the most progressive sports leagues with a three-day athlete strike in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake. The league has agreed to recommence games this week with key agreements to further racial justice, including turning arenas into polling places for the upcoming election. 

In addition to the establishment of a social justice commission with representation from players, coaches, and governors, NBA teams will work with local officials in their respective cities to turn arenas into voting locations for the 2020 general election. If the deadline to establish an arena as a polling place has passed, the team will work to find another election-related use for the facility. 

The decision comes at a critical time when voting access is under siege in many states. Some, like Mississippi, is being heavily scrutinized for the elimination of polling places, especially in communities with high proportions of residents of color. The US Postal Service cutbacks have also raised alarms about access to contactless voting during the pandemic. 

Using NBA arenas as polling places not only offers another accessible place for residents to cast their ballots, but the large nature of these venues means it will also be easier to follow social distancing protocols within them. This, combined with ample parking, lots of entry and exit points, and centralized locations make us wonder why we haven’t been using them as voting places all along. 

The goal of the change is to facilitate civic engagement and empower more Americans to vote in this election. With a large audience and powerful voice, professional sports are an effective medium for spurring social justice and raising awareness about critical issues. Many other leagues have also taken action to call for racial justice, including the WNBA, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and the National Hockey League.

Any expansion of voter registration and polling place access is a solution in our eyes. If you live in a city with an NBA team, maybe you’ll even cast your vote in your local arena this year. For more information on voting during a pandemic, check out our article which answers some of your most pressing questions on a state by state basis. 

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Following Jacob Blake strikes, NBA to turn its arenas into polling stations

After committing to donate $300 million to support racial justice earlier this month, the NBA distinguished itself yet again as one of the most progressive sports leagues with a three-day athlete strike in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake. The league has agreed to recommence games this week with key agreements to further racial justice, including turning arenas into polling places for the upcoming election. 

In addition to the establishment of a social justice commission with representation from players, coaches, and governors, NBA teams will work with local officials in their respective cities to turn arenas into voting locations for the 2020 general election. If the deadline to establish an arena as a polling place has passed, the team will work to find another election-related use for the facility. 

The decision comes at a critical time when voting access is under siege in many states. Some, like Mississippi, is being heavily scrutinized for the elimination of polling places, especially in communities with high proportions of residents of color. The US Postal Service cutbacks have also raised alarms about access to contactless voting during the pandemic. 

Using NBA arenas as polling places not only offers another accessible place for residents to cast their ballots, but the large nature of these venues means it will also be easier to follow social distancing protocols within them. This, combined with ample parking, lots of entry and exit points, and centralized locations make us wonder why we haven’t been using them as voting places all along. 

The goal of the change is to facilitate civic engagement and empower more Americans to vote in this election. With a large audience and powerful voice, professional sports are an effective medium for spurring social justice and raising awareness about critical issues. Many other leagues have also taken action to call for racial justice, including the WNBA, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and the National Hockey League.

Any expansion of voter registration and polling place access is a solution in our eyes. If you live in a city with an NBA team, maybe you’ll even cast your vote in your local arena this year. For more information on voting during a pandemic, check out our article which answers some of your most pressing questions on a state by state basis. 

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