After Months Without Fans, Atlanta Arena Springs To Life With Early Voters
ATLANTA: Atlanta teacher Kim Franklin arrived at State Farm Arena at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, securing a spot near the front of the long line of people that snaked outside the home of the Hawks NBA team on the first day of early voting in Georgia.
亚特兰大：亚特兰大教师金·富兰克林(Kim Franklin)于上午7：30抵达州立农场竞技场(State Farm Arena)。周一，在佐治亚州提前投票的第一天，确保了在老鹰队主场外蜿蜒的长队前面的一个位置。
State Farm Arena, with a seating capacity of 21,000 for National Basketball Association games and 680,000 square feet (63,174 square meters) of open space, is one of three dozen sports arenas and stadiums across the United States doubling as early voting sites before the Nov. 3 election. Nearly all of the venues have been closed to fans since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.
州立农场竞技场(State Farm Arena)拥有2.1万个国家篮球协会(NBA)比赛座位和68万平方英尺(63174平方米)的开放空间，是11月3日大选前全美30多个体育场馆之一，作为提前投票点。自从新冠肺炎大流行在3月份开始以来，几乎所有的场馆都对球迷关闭了。
First championed by the Atlanta Hawks owners, management and coaching staff, the initiative caught on nationally thanks in part to support from More than a Vote. The organization was started by the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Lebron James and other athletes to inspire African-Americans and everyone to register and vote.
“I’m here because I did my research. Their booths are spread wide all across the stadium floor. I think it’s safer,” said Franklin, 57, who wore a black “Notorious RBG” T-shirt in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“我来这里是因为我做了研究。他们的摊位散布在体育场的地板上。我认为这样更安全，“57岁的富兰克林说，他穿着一件黑色的”臭名昭著的RBG“T恤，以纪念已故的最高法院大法官露丝·巴德·金斯伯格(Ruth Bader Ginsburg)。
Georgia has emerged as a “battleground” state that could help decide the 2020 presidential election.
Four years ago, Donald Trump handily took the state and its 16 Electoral College votes. This year, polls show a much tighter race between the Republican president and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee.
The idea of turning State Farm Arena into a polling place started with Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, majority owner Anthony Ressler and head coach Lloyd Pierce, the outspoken chair of the NBA’s racial justice committee.
The team next approached Robb Pitts, who oversees local elections as chair of the Fulton County Commission.
“It took me about a nanosecond to understand what a big deal that would be for us here in Fulton County running this upcoming election,” Pitts told a news conference.
The team then challenged other professional sports franchises to open up their home venues for early voting.
Soon, the NBA’s Orlando Magic followed suit at the Amway Center, the National Football League’s Detroit Lions at Ford Field, NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium, the NBA Houston Rockets at Toyota Stadium and Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, among others.
At State Farm Arena, there were some first-day glitches including a software problem in 300 voting machines that delayed voting for almost an hour early on Monday.
Rick Carter, 63, a computer contractor in Atlanta, brought a folding chair for his wife Vera Carter while the couple waited.
63岁的里克·卡特(Rick Carter)是亚特兰大的一名电脑承包商，在夫妇俩等待期间，他给妻子维拉·卡特(Vera Carter)带来了一把折叠椅。
Carter said he and his wife considered voting by absentee ballots but were spooked by allegations that Trump’s postmaster general was trying to sabotage mail-in voting to help the president, who has repeatedly said, without evidence, that the practice was ripe for voter fraud.
“I know it’s easier than voting in person, but with everything going on with the Post Office, we weren’t sure our ballots could get there on time,” he said. “This feels like the safest bet.”