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Capital One Arena could be a voting center in 2020

With the coronavirus raging in the United States and much of the developing world, social distancing is a must. Big buildings like Capital One Arena could allow people to exercise their fundamental right while mitigating their risk.

Capital One Arena could be a voting center in November in this new era of social distancing that we are in.
Xinhua/ via Getty Images

In the United States, Election Day is on November 3, 2020. The most notable race will be when voters decide whether their state, or District (Washington, D.C.) will get to select electors who will vote for President Donald Trump’s re-election, or for presumptive Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden. But there will be elections for the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, state offices AND local offices.

I get that the American presidential election is the highest profile race. However, the American people don’t directly elect the president. And given the devolution of powers in the American government, state and local elections matter more in day-to-day life in my opinion, something former U.S. President Barack Obama noted last month.

The American landscape has changed a lot in the last few months. The coronavirus pandemic has altered life as we know it. Social distancing of six feet or more is a must. And leisurely travel, once something Americans could do almost on a whim, is no more. Americans are banned from most of the developed world because we’re doing a poor job mitigating the coronavirus. States opened up due to political pressure and we’re paying the price with more lives lost. And I honestly think the country’s locking down again sooner rather than later.

The coronavirus pandemic has also shed light on how Americans can exercise their right to vote. In some jurisdictions, there are long lines to vote and social distancing isn’t exactly possible. Therefore, we need bigger buildings to support all people to exercise one of their core rights.

And that leads me to a tidbit from earlier this week. Capital One Arena could be joining a list of NBA arenas that would serve as voting centers on Election Day.

Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi, who probably can’t vote because I don’t think he is an American citizen (he can vote for French elections) said that a group of players who include Bradley Beal, Ish Smith as well as Washington Mystics players Natasha Cloud and LaToya Sanders, are interested in having Capital One Arena serve as a voting center, at the very least during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unclear exactly how this will work. After all, Ted Leonsis, the principal owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the arena, would have to give his blessing. I’m sure he would do that. Then the D.C. government would have to work this plan out. There are still nearly four months until the next election, so it is possible that Capital One serves as a center for voters in D.C. elections, both locally and nationally.

How do you think Capital One Arena can best serve D.C. residents, both as a voting center and/or even as a general community facility besides hosting games and concerts? Let us know in the comments below.