VOTE 20

Atlanta Hawks Arena Will Be Turned Into Massive Polling Station

The initiative follows George’s chaotic primary, which renewed claims of voter suppression.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images – A game between the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets

The Atlanta Hawks will turn their Georgia arena into a massive polling station for upcoming elections — and their coach is challenging other NBA teams to do the same.

The NBA team announced on Monday that the State Farm Arena in Atlanta will become Georgia's largest-ever voting precinct.

In partnership with Fulton County, the facility will open its doors to voters for early voting on July 20 ahead of the Georgia General Primary Runoff Election on August 11. It will also be available for early voting in November's general elections. In addition to offering the venue, hundreds of Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena arena employees will be trained to serve as election workers, the NBA said in a release. Voters will also be able to maintain social distancing in the space.

“When our ownership group purchased the Hawks & State Farm Arena five years ago, we were clear that we felt it was our responsibility to make sure the organization was an important civic asset to the city of Atlanta,” Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena Principal Owner Tony Ressler said. “Utilizing State Farm Arena and our incredible staff to make the arena an accessible and vital polling site in an important election year is a fulfillment on that promise.”

The Hawks’ coach Lloyd Pierce, who also is an outspoken social justice advocate, challenged other NBA teams to do what they can to empower people to vote, NPR reported.

"We're Competitors. This will be a challenge to 29 other coaches in our league...to take part of everyone's right, which is the right to vote." Pierce said. 

The partnership follows Georgia’s chaotic primary on June 9 that renewed claims of voter suppression. The primary was plagued by broken voting machines and long lines, which many claimed impacted mostly “under-resourced communities” and Black voters. Celebrities and activists, including NBA star LeBron James, called out Georgia's leadership for the faulty systems, which they said could also impact the consequential general elections in November.