(Photo via @TheEventsDC on Twitter)
District of Columbia Board of Elections (DCBOE) has added the Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA) in Ward 8 as a “super vote center” for the upcoming general election.
ESA, which is home to the Washington Mystics and operated by Events DC, will open for early voting on Oct. 27 to accommodate more voters in Wards 7 and 8. Located at 1100 Oak Drive SE, ESA will be available for voting through the election on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Prior to this announcement, D.C. residents weren’t too pleased with local election officials since no super vote centers were going to be located east of the Anacostia River. These large polling stations being set up around D.C. are intended to accommodate many voters beyond a typical polling place. There were five super vote centers previously announced: Nationals Park, Capital One Arena, Omni Shoreham Hotel, the gym at the University of the District of Columbia, and Dock 5.
Mystics players such as Natasha Cloud also took to Twitter to urge ESA to open the space:
Equity. Equity is wards 7 & 8 being able to cast their votes as easily as wards 1&2. We desperately need change within our lower economic communities..voting (state, local, & federal) has direct impact on that change. @TheEventsDC https://t.co/e6DSKJQX3H
— Natasha Cloud (@T_Cloud4) September 23, 2020
Events DC previously said ESA was not available to be used as a super vote center, but that changed last week, DCBOE said in a news release.
“We are pleased EventsDC reversed its earlier decision and has made the ESA available to the DCBOE and the voters East of the River,” said DCBOE Chair D. Michael Bennett in a statement. “While we’ve had to shift some resources around to make this happen, it will not impact voting opportunities in any way and in fact, we believe, will make it easier for voters to easily and safely cast their ballots.”
That shift includes closing the previously planned Barry Farms polling center in Southeast due to equipment shortage, and reallocating tech to ESA, DCist reports. The District will open 32 early voting centers at the end of next month — four in each ward — and 95 voting locations on Election Day.
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