The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association has voted to end its short strike in an agreement that — wait for it — uses their arenas as giant poll places for in-person voting. That’s right. They’re giving President Trump a major win to encourage safe in-person voting on election day and they’re even going to advertise for it:
The NBA and NBPA announced that playoff games will resume Saturday.
They also agreed to establish a social justice coalition, to use league arenas as voting sites for November's general election and to promote voting information through advertising during the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/5Fr3AgIrWF
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 28, 2020
But it’s a maybe on the polling places. They’ll have to work with state and local officials on the plan and in some cases, the deadline may have passed. From Politico:
As part of an agreement with National Basketball Players Association union, the NBA will convert franchise-owned-and-operated arenas into voting facilities targeted at communities particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic, the league and union said in a joint statement. If the deadline for setting up a polling place in a particular state has passed, the league will use its local arena for other civic engagement purposes.
There are still a lot of unknowns on just how the NBA plan would work, but a similar scheme was used in Kentucky where Louisville used one large polling center for the entire city and it worked out pretty well:
Take a look inside Jefferson County’s voting center, Louisville’s lone polling place. But that’s a bit misleading. There are no long lines. It’s been a steady stream. From what we’ve seen, it’s been well organized. Voters tell us they are surprised at the efficiency. #KYSen pic.twitter.com/bRaSYn9slX
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) June 23, 2020
Of course, there were some hiccups as the polls closed as people were still making their way from their cars to the entrance:
Yesterday, voters in Louisville banged on the windows of the only polling place in the county, demanding to cast a vote in the Kentucky congressional primaries as a 6 p.m. deadline to cast ballots approached.
The doors were reopened until 6:30 p.m. pic.twitter.com/pPbz4CfRA9
— NPR (@NPR) June 24, 2020
This is definitely a risk on election day. Especially after people go to their local polling place only to find it has been closed and they’re now told to go drive to the arena:
Not sure why NBA thinks this is a good idea.
Going to an arena to vote will be a huge pain in the ass. And if a ton of people do it, that defeats the purpose of evading covid. pic.twitter.com/qP3I1ET2pW
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) August 28, 2020
And we’ll also point out that the Kentucky plan was widely criticized — falsely so — before primary day
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) June 19, 2020
Which we pointed out:
George Takei and others warn of voter suppression in Kentucky. Here's what's REALLY going on https://t.co/E4QXwcMQsS
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) June 22, 2020
So, as for the NBA plan, it sounds good! Anything that helps get people to vote in-person will help the entire system in a county.