A voting supercenter will be set up east of the Anacostia River in D.C.
The D.C. Board of Elections announced Friday that the Entertainment and Sports Arena, or ESA, in Ward 8 would be a “Super Vote Center,” starting with the early voting period beginning Oct. 27. The arena in Congress Heights is the home court of the 2019 WNBA Champions, the Washington Mystics.
The arena was previously unavailable to accommodate voters in Wards 7 and 8, but that changed this week, the board of elections said in a news release.
After visiting the facility this week, the board said it can use ESA in time for the early voting period through Election Day on Nov. 3.
“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 D. Michael Bennett, chair of the D.C. Board of Elections.
Events DC held off offering the venue because it could have been booked for other uses near the election. However, it’s not clear what those events were, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the absence of a super voting center east of the river.
Pressure started to build as community activists and Washington Mystics player, such as Natasha Cloud, spoke out.
Bennett said the shifting of resources to include ESA would not impact voting opportunities, but would instead “make it easier for voters to easily and safely cast their ballots.”
Voting equipment had already been allocated to 95 voting centers and 32 early voting centers across D.C. To accommodate the addition of ESA, Barry Farms Vote Center on Sumner Road Southeast will not open. All the equipment and machines slated for that location will be shifted to ESA.
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