Stadium voting: Arenas to serve as polling places for 2020 election - Sports Illustrated

These Stadiums Are Serving as Polling Sites for the 2020 General Election

Author:
Updated:
Original:

In 2016, just 55% of eligible Americans voted during the general election. That year marked the lowest rate of voter turnout since 1996.

It remains unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic might affect turnout this year. But many of the country's sports teams are doing their part to boost voting efforts this general election. 

A number of teams across several leagues—including the NFL, NBA, WNBA, NHL, MLB and MLS—are working to turn their stadiums into voting sites as the 2020 election begins, hoping to boost participation and ease the voting process during a pandemic. 

Here is a list of the teams hosting voting sites along with details of how some of them are working to increase overall voting awareness.

NFL

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have committed to turning Mercedes-Benz Stadium into a voting site. Further details have yet to be released.

Carolina Panthers

Planning to open for early voting from Oct. 15-30, the Panthers plan to use the Bank of America stadium as an early voting precinct. The team announced its plan last week on National Voter Registration Day. Here are more details.

Detroit Lions

Instead of the Lions offering Ford Field as a voting site, the stadium will serve as a secure holding place for ballots and equipment once polls are closed. Additionally, all Lions employees will receive a paid day off on Nov. 3 to assist with polling and operations at the stadium. Here are more details.

Green Bay Packers

In a video statement, Packers team president and CEO Mark Murphy announced that the team would use Johnsonville Tailgate Village as a polling site for voters. The 13,432 square foot building located in the Lambeau Field parking lot will be transformed into a station come late October.

Houston Texans

The Texans hope to increase voter turnout by designating NRG Park as the election headquarters for the Harris County Clerk’s Office. The arena will serve as both an early voting site from Oct. 13-30 and an Election Day location. In-person voting and drive-thru voting will be accessible to the public. 

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium, also home to the NFL Scouting Combine, will serve as an in-person voting site on Election Day. Here are more details.

Kansas City Chiefs

Of the teams serving as voting sites, the Super Bowl champion Chiefs were one of the first to announce their plan to do so. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu vowed to take an active role in voter registration amid Black Lives Matter protests in early June, and they did just that. The Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium will serve as an Election Day polling place for people living within the city limits of Kansas City in Jackson County. 

A general view of the field before the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium.

Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams

The league’s new SoFi Stadium—home to the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers—will be one voting site open from Oct. 30-Nov. 2. The complex will be open to registered voters throughout Los Angeles County.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers announced on Tuesday that Levi's Stadium will serve as a voting site. Early voting will begin on Oct. 31 at the stadium, and it will remain open through Election Day.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks announced on Aug. 1 that "local citizens would be able to register to vote, get a replacement ballot, and receive other assistance from King County Elections staff during both the August Primary and November General elections.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium will serve as an early voting site. Early voting begins Oct. 19 and continues through Nov. 1.

Washington Football Team

All registered voters in Prince George's County can go to FedEx Field on Election Day to vote on the third-floor club level of the Washington Football Team’s stadium.

NBA

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks were early to announce that they planned to turn State Farm Arena into a voting site. In doing so, they were able to open the stadium as a polling site for the primary runoff election on Aug. 11 as well as for early voting for the general election. The arena will open for early voting Oct. 12.

Brooklyn Nets

Serving as the largest voting space in Brooklyn, Barclays Center—home to the Nets—will serve as a polling site for the general election from Oct. 24-Nov. 1 and on Nov. 3.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets sought and received approval to turn the Spectrum Center into an early voting site prior to the league asking all 30 franchises to consider offering arenas as voting centers. The Spectrum Center will host early voting from Oct. 15-31.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers' Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse will serve as a polling site on Nov. 3. Here are more details.

Dallas Mavericks

The American Airlines Center will serve as the largest polling site in Dallas County from Oct. 30-Nov. 3. The Mavericks took prior initiative in order to get people registered to vote ahead of the Oct. 5 deadline by hosting a drive-thru registration event in the middle of September.

Denver Nuggets

The Pepsi Center will open on Oct. 30 as an in-person voting center and ballot drop-off location. Additionally, NBA All Star Paul Millsap has transformed his own training facility in Dekalb County into an early voting center from Oct. 12-30.

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons' training facility—the Henry Ford Performance Center—will allow people to register to vote on-site on Nov. 3. The team also declared Aug. 4 and Nov. 3 as company-wide paid off days to ensure that all staff members can either vote or volunteer as election workers.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors' Oakland Facility and Kaiser Permanente Arena located in Santa Cruz will serve as both polling sites and ballot drop-off locations, while their outdoor area alongside the Chase Center will serve as just a ballot drop-off location. All three locations will be open from Oct. 31-Nov. 3. Here are more details.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets ' Toyota Center will be open to all registered voters in Harris County from Oct. 13-30 as well as on Nov. 3. Here are more details.

Indiana Pacers

Bankers Life Fieldhouse - home of the Pacers - will be open to Marion County voters on Nov. 3. Here are more details.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Forum will be open as an in-person voting site and drop-off location for mail-in ballots from Oct. 24-Nov. 3. Los Angeles County registrar-recorder and county clerk Dean Logan said that the Forum “ensures Inglewood and the surrounding communities have a safe and positive in-person voting experience at one of L.A.’s historic landmarks.”

Los Angeles Lakers

The Staples Center will be open as an in-person voting site from Oct. 30-Nov. 3 to L.A. County residents. The stadium will also be a vote by mail drop box location. Additionally, Lakers powerhouse LeBron James is leading a voting rights organization titled More Than a Vote. The voting initiative has already recruited 10,000 poll workers, with former President Barack Obama joining the NBA virtual crowd.

Memphis Grizzlies 

FedEx Forum being used as the location for the Shelby County Election Commission to count absentee ballots in the upcoming election on Nov. 3. 

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks' Fiserv Forum was originally going to serve as an early voting site from Oct. 20-Nov. 1, but election officials scrapped those plans due to the fear that ballots sent in from that site could be legally challenged. The Wisconsin Election Commission said in a memo Monday that all early voting sites had to be designated by June 12. Fiserv Forum was announced as a voting site in September.

The Bucks are still involved in encouraging their community to vote through their "Bucks Vote" initiative, which launched the day of the primary election. The team has a website campaign launched to provide voting information and details to the public about how to get involved in the 2020 election.

New York Knicks

Serving over 60,000 eligible voters, the Knicks' Madison Square Garden will be the largest polling site in New York City. Manhattan voters assigned to the center can vote early from Oct. 24 until Election Day. Here are more details.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Instead of opening Chesapeake Energy Arena as a voting site, the Thunder have taken a different route in promoting voting. The team has been holding registration drives in Oklahoma City and Tulsa to give Oklahomans the opportunity to register to vote, learn more about voting information and request absentee ballots. The first "Thunder VOTE community drive" took place Sept. 27 at U.S. Grant High School, and the team plans to host community drives at Chesapeake Energy Arena for the next four Saturdays. Here are more details.

Orlando Magic

The Magic will transform the Amway Center into an early voting site from Oct. 19-Nov. 3. The team also opened the Amway Center on Sep. 22 for a voter registration event.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns' Veterans Memorial Coliseum will serve as an early voting ballot drop-off location and as a voting site on Election Day. Additionally, all Phoenix Suns employees will be offered the opportunity to volunteer as poll workers.

Sacramento Kings

From Oct. 24-Nov. 3., Sacramento County residents can drop off their completed ballot, get a new ballot printed to take home, vote in person, register to vote, update voter registration, receive language assistance or use an accessible ballot marking device to vote at the Golden 1 Center. Here are more details. 

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs' AT&T Center will be a voting site for early voting from Oct. 13-30 and on Election Day. Here are more details.

Utah Jazz

Voters can vote in-person at Vivint Arena - home to the Jazz - on Election Day. Here are more details.

Washington Wizards

Capital One Arena will act as an early vote location, offer D.C. voters the opportunity to register to vote and act as a location for voters to drop-off mail-in ballots on Election Day. Here are more details.

WNBA

The Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury share arenas with fellow NBA teams and are just as involved in offering their stadiums as polling sites.

Additionally, the Washington Mystics' Entertainment and Sports Arena will be a voting center on Election Day. Here are more details.

While both WNBA and NBA teams have taken initiative in transforming their stadiums into voting sites, many teams also spearheaded the Hoopers Vote initiative. 

Hoopers Vote is aimed at bringing the basketball community together as a whole to promote voter registration and education heading into the 2020 election. Among its ambassadors are Nneka Ogumike and Lisa Leslie, who has actively promoted the initiative on social media. From WNBA and NBA players to coaches to retired basketball stars and media members, Hoopers Vote has garnered immense support throughout the basketball community.

The initiative began with "Hoopers Register to Vote Day" on Sept. 24, which helped the public learn how to register to vote, obtain general election and voting information and how to volunteer to make their voices heard for the 2020 election. Through the Hoopers Vote partnership with Rock the Vote, a custom election center for players, team personnel, fans and all members of the basketball community has been developed to prepare for Election Day.

“Hoopers Vote harnesses the energy we’ve seen across the basketball family to encourage fans, especially young hoopers, to register and cast an informed ballot in this election," said Rock the Vote President Carolyn DeWitt. "We are inspired and thrilled to help support this movement.”

MLB

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles' Camden Yards will serve as a voting site on Election Day. The Orioles will also give the club's full-time staff a paid day off on Election Day, encouraging staff to both vote and volunteer to help.

Boston Red Sox

From Oct. 17-18, Fenway Park will be an early voting location for Boston residents. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

Lakers star LeBron James' voting-rights group, More Than A Vote, partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers to transform Dodger Stadium into a polling site. Voters registered in Los Angeles County will be able to park for free and vote at the stadium for the five days leading up to the election.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers, like the Bucks with Fiserv Forum, planned to have Miller Park open for early voting from Oct. 20-Nov. 1 but also canceled due to the fear of ballots being legally challenged.

Washington Nationals

Nationals Park will transform into a voting site from Oct. 27-Nov. 3.

NHL

Los Angeles Kings

Also home to the Lakers, the Staples Center will be open for in-person voting from Oct. 20-Nov. 3.

New Jersey Devils

The Prudential Center will serve as a polling site for those who want to drop off their ballots or vote in-person for the week leading up to Election Day. In addition, the center hosted a voter registration drive on Sept. 22. 

New York Rangers

The Rangers' home arena is also New York City's largest polling site, Madison Square Garden.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning's Amalie Arena will be open for early voting and mail ballot drop-off from Oct. 19-Nov. 1. The team also recently launched the "Be the Thunder. Be the Vote" platform to coincide with National Voter Registration Day. The program will engage with the Tampa Bay community by offering non-partisan resources and voting education.

Washington Capitals

The team's home arena is also Capital One Arena, which will act as an early vote and mail-in ballot drop-off location on Election Day.

MLS

Los Angeles FC

The team's Banc of California Stadium will serve as a voting site and drop-off location for mail-in ballots. Here are more details.

Seattle Sounders

The Sounders' CenturyLink Field was open for the August primary as a site for registering to vote, dropping off ballots and getting replacement ballots. The field will be open for voting on Election Day as well.