NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — You’ll soon be able to cast your ballot for November’s presidential election at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The decision comes after the NBA announced it will be converting many of its arenas around the country into voting sites.
As soon early voting starts, the home of the Nets will be transformed into a polling site. Officials said Tuesday it will be a safe place for New Yorkers to have their voices heard during the COVID-19 crisis.
Starting Oct. 24, at the beginning of early voting, all the way to Nov. 1, and again on Election Day, Nov. 3, Barclays will be one of the city’s largest polling sites.
“Barclays Center will become a very centrally located, easily accessible voting center both for early voting and voting on Election Day, itself,” said John Abbamondi, CEO of BSE Global. “We think it’s very important, particularly in this pandemic, to provide the residents of this city with as many safe and open voting centers as possible.”
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The decision to open up NBA arenas to voters comes after players refused to take part in playoff games last week, citing a lack of social justice.
The NBA responded by announcing several initiatives. Chief among them is converting several arenas into voter polling sites for the 2020 general election.
The city Board of Elections said the decision to use Barclays Center has actually been in the works for a while.
“It is clear that there was a prescient outlook by the Barclays folks as the rest of the NBA has now followed their lead and are making these arenas poll site realities,” BOE Executive Director Michael J. Ryan said.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said given issues with mail-in voting during the city’s primary elections, this will give people another safe option to vote in person.
“By having these additional spaces that we can practice social distance will ensure that we have a fair election season,” Adams said. “We were having a problem with in-person, so you can only imagine mail-in ballots is a problem on steroids. So the more in-person locations we can create, I believe it’s easier to count the ballots.”
The officials at Tuesday’s press conference acknowledged the NBA and its players for taking the lead on creating safe spaces for voting.
They encouraged other groups to do the same.
Many New Yorkers told Dhillon they are on board with Barclays Center as a polling location.
“Social distancing has been working, especially in New York. So if there’s enough space, and this is a very big space, I think it would be great to accommodate that,” one person said. “My last polling spot was a school. It was quite small.”
“Everyone can socially distance and make a difference with their votes,” added Jaquan Lewis of Brooklyn.
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