The Clippers announced Friday that they will be converting The Forum to a Vote Center for the upcoming election in November. Citizens will be able to vote at The Forum as well as drop off their mail-in ballots from October 24 through Election Day on November 3.
Steve Ballmer agreed to buy The Forum in March to help expedite the team’s Inglewood arena project, and he completed the purchase in May. Ballmer agreed to the keep The Forum active to host live events, though that has been impossible during the pandemic. Instead, The Forum has served as a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in recent months, and now it will be a socially-distanced polling place, both important civic functions.
The Clippers and The Forum are also creating the LA Voters Win platform which will allow people to check their registration status, research the local ballot, and make a plan to vote.
Voting has become an important cause for NBA players over the past few months, including the related issues of voter turnout and disenfranchisement. As part of the meetings between the players and the Board of Governors over the past two days following the NBA players’ walkout, and improved access to voting is one of the commitments the league has made in response to those discussions, per the NBA and NBPA release.
In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID. If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.
The league will work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.
Even if the Clippers don’t play at The Forum, this action is very much in the spirit of what the players and the league have been working towards. The Kings, Bucks, Pistons, Hawks, and Rockets have already announced that their arenas will be vote centers, and there figure to be more to come. Using team resources to make it easier for people to vote is exactly what the NBA should be doing.