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Heat wants to make it happen: AAArena as voting place for election

MIAMI, Fla. – The focus is about social justice and now the Miami Heat want to use their home as a voting location for their community but it’s Miami-Dade County that has the final say.

Back on July 25, Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra talked about the possibility of using the American Airlines Arena as a polling site.

“We’re pushing for it, really. The ball is in their court right now. We want to make it happen,” Spoelstra said.

On Friday, the basketball league and player’s association released a statement saying they will agree to resume playoffs but outlined several commitments.

The heads of the NBA and NBPA said in their joint statement Friday that players, coaches and team governors met Thursday to discuss ways to advance civic engagement and social justice.

One was establishing a social justice coalition using team owned arenas for voting and television ads focused on voting to air during the playoffs.

The agreement comes after the league postponed this week’s playoff after the Milwaukee Bucks chose not to play in protest following the police-involved shooting in Kenosha, Wisc., of Jacob Blake.

There is a sticking point, however, the AAA is not a team-owned arena, rather it’s the property of Miami-Dade County, the County’s deputy supervisor told Local 10.

Spoelstra said they have petitioned the city. “We want to use the arena as a polling site, a voting site and we think it would be terrific.”

Suzie Trutie, the deputy supervisor of elections for Miami-Dade County, said in a statement: “The Elections Department has traditionally used the Adrienne Arsht Center as an early voting site. The Arsht is not available this election. The Elections Department has visited other facilities in the area and will make a decision soon.”

Spolestra promised: “We can make it safe. We can follow all the health protocols. It’s really something we hope we can get done.”

Trutie confirmed that they have done a site inspection at the Arena but ultimately that decision is between the supervisor of elections and the mayor’s office.

Local 10 reached out to the office of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez for a comment on the proposal. His office did not have a statement, however, a spokesperson said it is “on the mayor’s radar.”

About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.