Capital One Arena to be used as polling station

Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Wizards NBA basketball team and the Washington Capitals NHL ice hockey franchise, is set to become the latest major-league arena to open as a polling station for the upcoming US presidential election.

Election officials in Washington, D.C. confirmed to DCist/WAMU that the 20,000-seat facility will be used as an early voting station and day-of voting centre.

Social distancing measures will be in place on voting days, with DCist reporting that booths will be set up on the Capital One Arena concourses.

Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE), the parent company of Capital One Arena, confirmed last month that it was in discussions with the D.C. Board of Elections and the executive office of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser about using the arena as a polling station, and a deal has now been reached.

MSE cited the footprint of Capital One Arena and the social distancing protocols in place at the venue as reasons why the facility would be suited to welcome voters. MSE will offer staff a paid day off on election day, with employees to be given training to serve as election workers.

A total of 20 early voting stations will be set up in Washington, D.C., with 80 places to open on election day on November 3.

The news comes after fellow NBA team the Atlanta Hawks in June made its State Farm Arena home available for polls, including November’s presidential election. The Hawks struck a deal with local authorities for the 680,000-square-foot facility to be used as a voting centre until the start of next season, which begins in December.

Capital One Arena set a first for a US sports facility last week after William Hill officially opened a sports book at the venue.

Image: Daniel Lobo