ORLANDO, FL – The Orlando Magic, the City of Orlando, and Orange County announced today that the Amway Center will be opened up as an early voting site.
Orlando Mayer Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demmings, Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins, and Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bil Cowles held a press conference today announcing that the Amway Center will be opened as an early voting location starting on October 19 through November 1st. The polling station will be on the north side of the arena in the Disney Atrium.
Additionally, on National Voter Registration Day, September 22, Amway Center will be open for voter registration which will also take place inside the Disney Atrium from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The deadline to register to vote is October 5 and people can visit www.registertovoteflorida.gov for more information.
“As a community, it is so important that we work together to ensure that every eligible voter is able to have their voice heard by making voting accessible and safe,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “The City of Orlando is proud to partner with the Orlando Magic and the Orange County Supervisor of Elections to transform our Amway Center into an early voting site.”
Magic Center Mo Bamba, who is involved with the NBA;s More Than a Vote organization, brought the idea of using the space at Amway Center for voting way back in June 2020.
“Voting to me is the most American thing you can do for a democracy to work. I learned that at a very young age in elementary school just voting for a class president,” he said. “This is just something I want to push for.”
Bamba was among the professional athletes who signed a letter with More Than A Vote to fight Black voter suppression in 2020. The nonprofit organization is focused on getting more Black Americans to the polls and has stated that “one solution that More Than A Vote is working on is to convert as many arenas and sports facilities as possible into voting precincts.”
So far, 15 teams have committed to either facilitate early voting or become election day polling locations.
Although Supervisor Cowles stated that his staff will be handling the early voting, Bamba and Martins stated that he and other Magic players want to be involved in the early voting work.
Martins said that there will be a campaign to bring attention to the plan, including some involving Magic players.
The Magic have been working with Desmond Meade of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help with the organization’s voting awareness campaign. The team had its slogan — “Get off the bench. Get into the game. Vote.” — printed on T-shirts that players wore when they entered the NBA bubble last month at Walt Disney World. The T-shirts are now being sold to the public, with proceeds benefiting Meade’s organization.
Voting machines will be set up in the atrium area on the north side of the arena and Cowles doesn’t expect any shortage in equipment.