Barclays Center in Brooklyn to serve as polling site for 2020 election, NY absentee portal open

BROOKLYN, New York City (WABC) -- The Barclays Center in Brooklyn will serve as a polling site for the 2020 general election, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state's absentee ballot portal is open.

The home of the Brooklyn Nets will host early voting October 24 to November 1 and Election Day on November 3.

While the coronavirus pandemic has rendered many sports and entertainment venues underutilized, the Barclays Center will now serve as the largest voting space in Brooklyn, providing thousands of the borough's voters with a centrally located polling site to cast their ballots indoors while complying with CDC safety guidelines.

"I am so pleased that Barclays Center has stepped up in such a crucial election," Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan said. "The more options voters have, the smoother and safer the voting process becomes, especially in what is still a uniquely trying time for the city."

In addition to the site itself, Ryan took note of the venue's "various transportation options, which gives voters who may have to travel a bit to cast their ballots some convenience."

Related: Basketball, baseball, soccer games postponed amid protests over Jacob Blake shooting

Separately, Cuomo announced the launch of New York's absentee ballot portal where voters can directly request an absentee ballot for the upcoming November 3 election.

The governor acted with an executive order to allow any voter concerned about risk or exposure to COVID during the ongoing pandemic to request an absentee ballot.

"As the November election approaches we know that many voters feel vulnerable in the midst of this pandemic," Cuomo said. "In line with the sweeping reforms we have implemented to make it easier for New Yorkers to exercise their right to vote, today we launch the online portal through which every registered voter concerned about COVID-19 can obtain an absentee ballot. Voting is the cornerstone of democracy and we want each and every voter to feel safe and secure in the exercise of voting."

Madison Square Garden announced last week that it will also serve as an early voting and election day polling site, as part of a league wide initiative for team arenas to host voting this fall.

As part of an agreement with the NBA players' union, the league is converting franchise-owned-and-operated arenas into voting facilities.

National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following joint statement after a brief boycott of playoff games by NBA teams following protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality. Among others, the attendees included player and team representatives of all 13 teams in Orlando. All parties agreed to resume NBA playoff games on Saturday, Aug. 29 with the understanding that the league together with the players will work to enact the following commitments:

1. The NBA and its players have agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.

2. 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.

3. 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.

These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community.

We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together - in Orlando and in all NBA team markets - to push for meaningful and sustainable change.


Also, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday the launch of New York's absentee ballot portal, where voters can directly request an absentee ballot for the upcoming November 3 election. The Governor acted with an executive order to allow any voter concerned about risk or exposure to COVID during the ongoing pandemic to request an absentee ballot.

"As the November election approaches we know that many voters feel vulnerable in the midst of this pandemic," Cuomo said. "In line with the sweeping reforms we have implemented to make it easier for New Yorkers to exercise their right to vote, today we launch the online portal through which every registered voter concerned about COVID-19 can obtain an absentee ballot. Voting is the cornerstone of democracy and we want each and every voter to feel safe and secure in the exercise of voting."

Related: Colorado store closing after Colin Kaepernick-related Nike boycott

----------
* More Brooklyn news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.