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September 01, 2020

Wells Fargo Center to be made available for 2020 election, Comcast and Sixers say

But according to the city, they might not need it.

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2_Wells_Fargo_Center_sixers_76ersvsCeltics_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

The inside of the Wells Fargo Center prior to a Sixers game.

The Wells Fargo Center, home to the Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers, will be made available, "for election activities related to the general election to be held in November of 2020," Comcast and the Sixers announced on Tuesday morning.

The two groups stopped short of declaring it a polling location, noting in a statement WFC would be available to the city of Philadelphia as they see fit to use it:

The Wells Fargo Center, home to both the Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia 76ers, will be available to the City for such use as the City deems appropriate consistent with the requirements of applicable State and local election laws. 

According to Valerie Camillo, President of Business Operations of the Flyers and the WFC, “In the face of the unique circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, both our organization and the 76ers are pleased to be able to support the City of Philadelphia in its efforts to ensure full, fair, safe and secure voter participation in this fall’s election. We applaud the NBA and the 76ers for their advocacy around this issue and are pleased to be able to make our facility available consistent with the City’s needs.” 

Chris Heck, 76ers President: “We thank our great partner, Comcast Spectacor, and the Philadelphia Flyers for their efforts in ensuring that the Wells Fargo Center is available to serve as a place where the Philadelphia community can safely exercise their right to vote. The 76ers will continue to advocate for increased access to voting and use our platform to do good in our communities.”

In a statement provided to PhillyVoice on Tuesday morning, the City Commissioners Office expressed their gratitude for the availability of both the Wells Fargo Center and Lincoln Financial Field, while maintaining there were better options for local voters already in place.

“The Eagles and Sixers have reached out, though we have already identified more convenient locations for the voters of those divisions around the Linc and Wells Fargo Center," the City Commissioners Office said Tuesday. "But it is great to know that they are available in case they are needed.”

The push to turn arenas around the NBA has been led in large part by players around the NBA, predominantly by the teams who decided to strike during games last week as a response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by Wisconsin police. Last Friday, the NBA and NBPA released a joint statement in which they declared that push for voting access essential to the resumption of games during the Orlando restart.

"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," the statement read, "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 elections-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards." 

Teams around the NBA have already committed to using their arenas as polling locations for the general election, including the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Lakers. Others have run into complications as a result of local election laws. 

The Boston Celtics, for example, will not turn TD Garden into a polling location as a result of deadline rules in Boston.

"Unfortunately, TD Garden is not eligible to be a voting site because the city requires approval of voting sites at least 20 days prior to the statewide primaries, which are Sept. 1, and to be open for both the statewide primaries and the Nov. 3 general election so as to avoid voters being confused by a change in voting sites," TD Garden said in a statement released Monday.

As for how the Wells Fargo Center will be used if not for polling, that remains to be seen.

This story is developing...

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