The Miami Heat expressed disappointment on social media that their home arena was rejected as a polling station for November’s general election, while a number of other NBA cities welcomed an identical plan.
In a proposal pushed by LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this summer, the idea was to turn NBA arenas into mega-voting locations to give so many registered voters the opportunity to cast a ballot paper – and with sure social distancing.
Cities that have launched their teams include Atlanta, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez rejected the Heat’s offer to use the AmericanAirlines Arena and made the decision to use the smaller Frost Science Museum. Gimenez is on the November ballot as the Republican nominee for Congress.
The Heat responded to the decision with a detailed statement on Twitter, saying they had done everything possible to show the viability of the arena as a polling station in the hope that it could continue to serve in this function in the years to come.
“To say that we are disappointed is a huge understatement,” the post from The Heat said in part. “The arena is clearly a better location, with more visibility, more space and more parking spaces. However, to the extent that the forces involved in this decision believe that this will reassure our voice on the crucial importance of the vote, they should know that we will not be deterred.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra also expressed his disappointment.
“It’s a little surprise,” Spoelstra told reporters before the Heat’s Game 3 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. “We thought we were on the goal line to make it, and we had really worked with the county to tick all the boxes they seemed to want to tick. It would have been a perfect place.
“But I promise you one thing: this will not stop us. We will get involved in one way or another. We will only strategically plan, recalibrate and find out what step we can take from here. That is, with or without the district. It’s just really disappointing that they made that decision.”