The Atlanta Hawks’ State Farm Arena home will be transformed into a 700,000-square-foot early voting precinct for Georgia’s Aug. 11 primary runoff election, the team and the NBA announced.
The 16,600-seat facility, opened in 1999, was closed in March due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and was not supposed to reopen until the fall. But it will be opened July 20 for the Aug. 11 runoff election for Fulton County residents, NBA.com reported.
The Hawks announced in a Twitter post that State Farm Arena will become Georgia’s “largest-ever voting precinct” that, according to the NBA, will “resolve a variety of issues mostly caused by COVID-19 and the need for safety and distancing measures.”
Fulton County election officials also will use the arena as its central operations headquarters for absentee ballot processing and vote tabulations.
Hawks owner Steve Koonin reportedly suggested using the arena, saying, with coronavirus restrictions altering how public places operate, safety was the first concern with regard to State Farm Arena.
“That was our No. 1 priority moving forward and we should be able to do this with ease,” Koonin said.
Fulton County officials were extremely happy.
“This will be a super-duper location for Fulton County, and in fact will become our election central,” Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts said. “This addition of State Farm Arena as an early voting location will enhance the voting experience of our citizens. We will go from the proverbial ‘worst’ to first in November as a result of this collaboration.”
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