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Old 06-30-2020, 09:05 PM  
Pitt Gorilla Pitt Gorilla is offline
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Atlanta Hawks approved to turn State Farm Arena into huge voting station

Not really political, but such a great idea to help out the community. I wonder if this might be a model moving forward.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/...ming-elections

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 Aug. 11 and early voting for the general election scheduled for Nov. 3.

The idea was hatched during the weekend after the killing of George Floyd, when the focal point of protests in Atlanta was just outside the Hawks' home arena. Conversations among Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, CEO Steve Koonin and majority owner Antony Ressler quickly coalesced around the 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 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," Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County board of commissioners, 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 led the Hawks to believe 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," Ressler said.

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

Much of that square footage will be used to account for the coronavirus. Voting machines that might typically be arranged inches apart will be set at least 6 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, such as tabulating absentee ballots, will be performed on site.

Ressler offered a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that if the Hawks wanted to maximize turnout at the State Farm Arena location, the team could host an open court practice as voters file 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, State Farm Arena will serve as one of 19 polling locations that will offer early voting for 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 though the 29th coach, Toronto's Nick Nurse, can't help develop a polling site at Scotiabank Arena, he has been helpful in 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."
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:07 AM   #16
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:28 AM   #17
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It's suspicious. .....
Yes, that all sounds totally shady.
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:51 AM   #18
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Republicans don’t want Americans to vote.

Why Republicans need to get their ass kicked, no longer wish to represent their constituents.
What in the actual ****? Do you even believe the shit you write? Talk about just making shit up.
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:29 PM   #19
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At the very least, this is a great idea that reasonable people will support.
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Old 07-01-2020, 03:07 PM   #20
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I'm for making voting as easy as possible for everyone, but I'm afraid this is politically motivated. I think it should be easier for old people in nursing homes to vote, too. And young people in college. Poor people from the inner city. Poor people in trailer parks.
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Old 07-01-2020, 03:12 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by BWillie View Post
I'm for making voting as easy as possible for everyone, but I'm afraid this is politically motivated. I think it should be easier for old people in nursing homes to vote, too. And young people in college. Poor people from the inner city. Poor people in trailer parks.
Agreed across the board. Like I noted, I think this is a really good start/model.
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Old 07-02-2020, 10:31 AM   #22
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LeBron James’ group touts sports venues as mega-voting sites

ATLANTA (AP) — If basketball icon LeBron James gets his way, NBA arenas and other sports venues around the country will be mega polling sites for the November general election.

James and his voting rights group, formed this spring with other black athletes and entertainers, are joining with other professional basketball leaders and Michigan’s top elections official to push for mega voting sites to accommodate in-person balloting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

More Than A Vote, the James organization dedicated to maximizing Black turnout in November, shared its plans with The Associated Press on Wednesday after the Detroit Pistons became the second NBA franchise to announce plans to use its arena for voting later this year. In Georgia, Fulton County elections officials this week approved the Atlanta Hawks’ proposal to use State Farm Arena as a polling site. Plans call for the arena to serve as a countywide early voting site ahead of Election Day.

The idea, which comes after Kentucky used large facilities in its June 23 primary, is to use large spaces that allow for in-person voting while still enforcing social distancing guidelines. It also underscores the attention on the mechanics of voting amid the pandemic, with the intensity already reflected in both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden warning that state and local officials have the power to “corrupt” the election.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called her “partnership” with the Pistons an “blueprint for other teams and leagues seeking to advance our common goal of protecting access to the vote for all.”

Lloyd Pierce, head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, said the arrangement in his city ensures “high turnout” in a safe environment. Benson, Pierce and David Fizdale, former New York Knicks head coach, will advise NBA franchises and arena management entities around the country on how to replicate the existing deals.

The Milwaukee Bucks also confirmed they are willing to use their home arena as a voting site in the most populous city in the key battleground of Wisconsin.

The coordinated push is a turnabout, of sorts, in the often-partisan jousting over voting procedures.

Some Democrats panned Kentucky elections officials for limiting in-person June primary voting in the state’s two most populous counties to Louisville’s Exposition Center and the University of Kentucky football stadium in Lexington. Voting rights advocates argued in federal court that the plan, part of culling voting sites statewide amid coronavirus concerns, would harm minority voters.

A federal judge rejected their claims, and voting proceeded without the melee that some advocates had forecast.

Now, Benson, a Democrat, is pushing the arena model not as an example of potential voter suppression, but a way to fight it. “One of our greatest challenges in protecting voters’ access to democracy this November is identifying accessible locations where citizens can safely vote in person,” she said.

Amid COVID, that could outweigh potential logistical difficulties of large sites. Lines for such venues can still be long — just as with normal polling locations — as was seen in Lexington at some points on primary day. Voters also could face traffic jams or public transit hiccups given the number of people involved. General elections also have considerably larger turnout than primaries.

Nonetheless, there’s a growing bipartisan push for large-venue voting. NFL executive Scott Pioli last week presented the National Association of Secretaries of State a plan for widespread use of professional and college sports facilities.

James’ group is officially nonpartisan. But the NBA star has been open about its emphasis on the Black community, where Trump faces intense opposition for his white identity politics. James has not endorsed Biden, but he endorsed Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016.

In Milwaukee, meanwhile, the Bucks owners, the Lasry family, are major Democratic Party donors. Bucks executive Alex Lasry helped lead the effort that landed the Democratic National Convention in the city.

__ Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that State Farm Arena would be a voting site on Election Day, Nov. 3. Current plans call for it to be an early voting site ahead of the election, but not an Election Day site.

https://apnews.com/1137e832531afe4515a97335ebf65964
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Old 07-02-2020, 10:34 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Pitt Gorilla View Post
At the very least, this is a great idea that reasonable people will support.


Yes, let the ignorant masses vote, get bussed in, have no ID and vote as many times as they can get away with and are the least informed but can be legally bribed with free everything. It has nothing to do with reasonable people supporting it. You're just trying to rig an election by pandering to certain demographics.

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Old 07-02-2020, 10:37 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by BWillie View Post
I'm for making voting as easy as possible for everyone, but I'm afraid this is politically motivated. I think it should be easier for old people in nursing homes to vote, too. And young people in college. Poor people from the inner city. Poor people in trailer parks.
Of course it is. Allow more to vote is one thing, doing all the work for them is politically motivated. Especially in the current environment where loads of fraudulent mail-in votes were found in mail-boxes; where ballot harvesting was made legal with instances of the harvestors using intimidation at people's doors, where there's been a push to allow illegals to vote, and to move the age to 16 in order to vote.

Who will these workers be at these stadium size voting places? Will it be tougher to watch due to sheer scale and size for anomalies.
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Old 07-02-2020, 10:38 AM   #25
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