Top Ad
I DIG Radio
www.idigradio.com
Listen live to the best music from around the world!
I DIG Style
www.idigstyle.com
Learn about the latest fashion styles and more...

Hawks OK'd to turn arena into huge voting station

Written by 
Published in Basketball
Monday, 29 June 2020 17:11

The Fulton County Registration and Elections Board approved a plan by the Atlanta Hawks to transform State Farm Arena into a massive polling station for Georgia's primary runoff election on August 11, as well as the general election scheduled for November 3.

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

"We were casually brainstorming since our whole world turned about what we can do internally as an organization," Pierce said. "We were trying to figure out how we can take care of home first, and [Koonin] pitched the idea."

After taking two weeks to examine the facility's capacity to host both early and election day voting in both summer and fall, the Hawks brought the idea to the Fulton County Commission, which provides funding for the county's registration and elections board.

"It took me about a nanosecond to understand what a big deal that would be for us here in Fulton County running this upcoming election, given the challenges that we had," Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts said.

Polling sites in the Atlanta metropolitan area, particularly in predominately African-American precincts, were beset by logistical problems during the primary election on June 9. Watching Georgians endure waits of several hours to vote further assured the Hawks their plan could bring efficacy to a system that lacked it.

"Making State Farm Arena the safest, most efficient and largest polling location in Georgia -- and maybe the country -- we thought was a really cool idea that helps Atlanta be a model for a great voting experience rather than what hasn't, shall we say, been a model recently."

Neither the Hawks nor Fulton County could offer a specific target for the number of voting machines they planned to house at State Farm Arena, though the Hawks said the expectations was 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 can conceivably accommodate voters.

Much of that square footage will be used to account for the coronavirus. Voting machines that might typically be arranged just inches from one another will set at least six feet apart. Lines to vote on the game court will begin at the portals in the main concourse and descend down the aisles of the lower bowl to the floor, with voters following social distancing practices. Given the size of the arena, many ancillary functions required on election day, like tabulating absentee ballots, will also be performed on site.

Ressler offered as a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that if the Hawks wanted to truly maximize turnout at the State Farm Arena location, the team would host an open court practice as voters filed into the building and cast their ballots. He was politely told that such a setup wasn't practical. He nevertheless anticipates that Hawks players will be active in the get-out-the-vote effort in Fulton County.

The Hawks have volunteered to pick up the expenses for the voting facility, including compensation for 300 full-time State Farm Arena employees and several hundred who work part time. Vehicles with voters will not be charged for parking.

In addition to election day, State Farm Arena will also serve as one of 19 polling locations that will offer early voting for over a 19-day period prior to Election Day, in both the runoff and general elections.

"Adam Silver says that arenas should be town halls or public squares for the city they serve," Koonin said. "This was something that was one of those ideas that was so obvious you asked, 'Why hasn't anyone done it before?'"

Pierce, who has played a lead role on the National Basketball Coaches Association's committee on racial injustice and reform, plans to discuss the initiative on the weekly call of the NBA's head coaches.

"The focal point tonight is what the coaches can do in Orlando to keep this conversation alive and use our voice and our platform in unity," Pierce said. "But being able to address the group and show them this initiative was really not hard to process. We reached out to the county and they were on board. The next thing you know, we're the first city to have an arena host a voting site. So I really want to encourage all the other 28 other coaches."

Pierce added that while the 29th coach, Toronto's Nick Nurse, can't help develop a polling site at Scotiabank Arena, he's been helpful encouraging American expatriates in Canada to complete voter registration and obtain absentee ballots.

"When we saw what we saw on June 9, it was extremely clear that we have a real issue in the state of Georgia and especially here in Atlanta," Pierce said. "And we felt we had an opportunity to do something special. It was encouraging that we were able to think outside of the box and speak this idea into existence."

Read 8 times

Leave a comment

Soccer

Trial sought for Benzema in sex-tape case

Trial sought for Benzema in sex-tape case

French prosecutors have asked that Karim Benzema face trial over his alleged involvement in the atte...

Inside MLS is Back: Players get heated as excitement builds for tournament

Inside MLS is Back: Players get heated as excitement builds for tournament

With reporting from Stefano Fusaro in Orlando, Florida.There have been tweets about sketchy room ser...

Full-back Hakimi joins Inter from Real Madrid

Full-back Hakimi joins Inter from Real Madrid

Inter Milan have signed Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid on a five-year contract for a fee of €40m plu...

Basketball

Zion worked to stay in shape during quarantine

Zion worked to stay in shape during quarantine

For New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, quarantine presented a new set of challenges. How d...

Bulked-up Griz rookie Morant ready after hiatus

Bulked-up Griz rookie Morant ready after hiatus

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, the Rookie of the Year frontrunner, feels like he's really...

Baseball

No. 3 pick Meyer gets $6.7M bonus from Marlins

No. 3 pick Meyer gets $6.7M bonus from Marlins

MIAMI -- Right-hander Max Meyer has agreed to a $6.7 million signing bonus as part of a minor league...

Current N.Y. rules prohibits fans from stadiums

Current N.Y. rules prohibits fans from stadiums

The state of New York released guidelines for professional sports competition Wednesday that contain...

Sports Leagues

  • FIFA

    Fédération Internationale de Football Association
  • NBA

    National Basketball Association
  • ATP

    Association of Tennis Professionals
  • MLB

    Major League Baseball
  • ITTF

    International Table Tennis Federation

Sponsored Links

I DIG® Newspapers
www.idignewspapers.com
I Dig® Newspapers, stay up to date with the latest news from around the world.
I DIG® Casino
www.idigcasinos.com
I Dig® Casino, explore our online casino games, play a wide range of free slots and casino games at our online casino today.
I DIG® Radio
www.idigradio.com
I Dig® Radio HD is the only place in the internet where you can find free, super high bit rate internet radio stations from around the world. On I Dig® Radio HD you can find free radio stations streaming at 256kbps.

About Us

I Dig® is a leading global brand that makes it more enjoyable to surf the internet, conduct transactions and access, share, and create information.  Today I Dig® attracts millions of users every month.

 

Phone: (800) 737. 6040
Fax: (800) 825 5558
Website: www.idig.com
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Affiliated