The American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars, is opening its doors once again. No, it’s not to welcome back the NBA or NHL, it’s to welcome voters for the upcoming national elections.
Beginning October 13, the AAC will be open for early voting, which runs through Oct. 30. The arena will also be open on Election Day, November 3. The AAC will serve as the largest polling location in Dallas County.
“We are proud to partner with the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars and Dallas County to transform American Airlines Center into the largest polling location for Dallas County residents,” Dave Brown, American Airlines Center COO and General Manager, said in a statement. ”Our team is eager and committed to providing a safe and accessible in-person voting experience for the community.”
Opening the facility to voters is part of a larger push by NBA players and team—and across sports—to encourage people to vote this year. The movement stems from the NBA wildcat strike that took place in August in the NBA Bubble after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
For several days, the future of the season looked in doubt as players debated how they would respond to yet another act of police brutality on a Black person. The plan they, the coaches, board of governors, and league came up with included turning every arena owned by the city in which they play into a polling location.
The Mavericks also took extra steps in the wake of the strike. They announced the Seven Days of ACTION! initiative filled with promises that the organization will implement in order to further combat racial injustices in the community. Using the AAC as a voting location was included in the initiative.
Because of the sheer size of the arena, the AAC and Dallas Co. are calling on volunteers to help work the polls during early voting and on Election Day. Those interested in becoming a poll worker can find more information here.
Prior to the start of voting, the Mavericks are holding a drive-thru registration event on Sept. 22 from 7am-2pm, National Voter Registration Day. The last day to register to vote in the upcoming election is Oct. 5.
“Every voice matters,” said Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. “Every citizen has the fundamental right to vote in the election and we are doing our part by offering up the largest polling place in the county. We encourage everyone to register who is eligible and vote early starting October 13.”
DART, Dallas’ mass transit agency, is offering free rides to voters heading to the AAC on Election Day system-wide on both buses and trains. They are also offering complementary rides during early voting Oct. 17 and Oct. 24—both Saturdays. Find more details about their service here.
Free parking will also be available.
- September 22 – National Voter Registration Day
- October 5 – Voter’s Registration Deadline
- October 13 – Early Voting Begins
- October 30 – Early Voting Ends
- November 3 – Election Day