Staples Center is latest NBA arena named as a voting center for fall General Election

Angelenos now can use their voices to do more than cheer their home teams and their favorite musical artists at Staples Center. They’ll also be able to head to the arena to vote in the upcoming general election, according to an announcement Saturday from the Lakers, Staples Center, AEG and the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder.

The news came a day after the NBA and NBPA’s joint statement that they’re planning to team up to advance a handful of new social justice initiatives, including turning NBA arenas into voting sites this fall.

Voters will be able to cast their ballot at Staples Center between Oct. 30 and Election Day, Nov. 3. The arena in downtown L.A. also will serve as a vote-by-mail drop box location.

“The Lakers organization is extremely pleased to be able to partner with AEG and the County of Los Angeles to open up Staples Center to provide a safe and easily accessible location for people to vote,” said Jeanie Buss, Lakers governor, in a statement. “For our democracy to function, all citizens need to be able to vote in a secure and safe way – and we’re very happy to be able to play our part in ensuring that they can.”

On Friday, the Clippers announced that they’ll make the Forum in Inglewood available for voters to cast a ballot in person or drop off mail-in ballots between Oct. 24-Nov. 3. The arena, which formerly was home the Lakers and NHL’s Kings, now is used as a concert venue.

Clippers ownership purchased the Forum — which currently is among the sites in L.A. County where people can be tested for the coronavirus — in May for $400 million as part of a settlement agreement with Madison Square Garden.

On Sept. 1, the Clippers — who will continue to play at Staples Center through 2024, after which they’re planning to open a new arena in Inglewood — will launch the website. The site will serve as an online hub for voters to register to vote, check their registration status and learn about the issues via BallotReady and USA Facts.

Earlier this month, the Dodgers and “More Than A Vote,” a nonprofit coalition of Black athletes and artists led by Lakers star LeBron James, worked with the California Secretary of State’s office to arrange for Dodger Stadium also to be used as a voting site during the general election, when any registered voter in L.A. County will be able to park at the stadium, at no charge, during a five-day period to vote.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Saturday that the idea to turn Staples Center into an expansive polling place has been in the works for a while.

“It’s something that I know the Lakers have been working on for some time,” said Vogel, before the Lakers tipped off Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I’m not sure what happened in the last couple of days, but obviously with what the players did in terms of sitting out games and making sure we address these issues of potentially using these NBA arenas as voting sites really, really helps the cause. This is positive change. And this is what we’re all in this for.

“We’re gonna be vocal,” Vogel added. “But it’s really about action, and this is a huge step just for creating a venue where there’s not gonna be any reason for people in the L.A. community or L.A. County to not vote. A lot of times there’s not enough sites and there’s long lines and whatnot, and everybody’s not going to be able to. So credit the Lakers, credit AEG and L.A. County for getting this done.”

With Saturday’s announcement, the Lakers join the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and Clippers among the NBA teams that have arranged to turn arenas under their control into voting centers. More teams reportedly are in the process of following suit, if possible.

Kyle Goon contributed to this report.

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