ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – For the first time ever, voters will have the chance to cast their ballots for early voting at the Amway Center. Early voting begins on Monday.
Thursday afternoon, election workers with measuring tapes in hand set up and spaced out 50-60 voting booths six feet apart inside the Walt Disney World Atrium at the Amway Center.
“I think there will be a lot of people that will want to come vote at Amway because it’s something special, we have never been able to do it before,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said. “Usually the NBA season is in full swing.”
Mayor Dyer spent Thursday afternoon speaking about logistics with the election workers who say there will be only about six staff inside, while outside they will have a socially distant line around the building. Mayor Dyer said he was thinking back to images of Atlanta’s State Farm Arena earlier this week with longs lines for its first day of early voting on Monday.
However, the vision to turn the Amway Center into an early voting site is a vision of the Orlando Magic players and other NBA teams, who in the bubble had a players-only meeting regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement. Together, the teams wanted to open up the arenas NBA teams play in to encourage people to vote.
“You had two things converging,” added Mayor Dyer. “You had the coronavirus that forced the NBA and MLS into bubbles out at Disney and then you had the Black Lives Matter movement going on and athletes wanting to make a difference and this is an impact in a way that the Magic and the NBA are making a difference.”
Mayor Dyer added they are making a difference in a non-partisan way.
“They aren’t saying vote democrat or republican or green party, they are saying ‘go vote.’”
News 6 spoke with Orlando Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford who also spoke about why this was important to the players.
“I think our players - I think our whole league showed that as a group of people we want change. We are willing to work. We are anxious and we are committed to working towards positive and sustainable change,” Coach Clifford said. “We know it’s going to take a long time, it’s going to take effort on everybody’s part and nothing is more important than voting.”
Early voting in Orange County goes from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday morning until Nov. 1.