After it initially appeared the Suns would not be able to take part in the NBA’s efforts, in support of the players, to turn all team-owned properties into election centers, the organization found a way to make it happen.
Rather than Talking Stick Resort Arena or the team’s new east Phoenix practice facility, Veterans Memorial Coliseum — better known as the Madhouse on McDowell — will be a polling place and ballot collection center this fall, according to a press release from the team.
Per the team statement:
A task force including Phoenix Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver and the Suns’ Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges, has been working closely with Arizona state and Maricopa County officials to establish a broad reaching voter engagement initiative for the upcoming elections on November 3, 2020.
This initiative includes utilizing the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, also known as the Madhouse on McDowell, as a voting center and early voting ballot drop location in order to encourage the greater Phoenix and Maricopa County community to vote. Additionally, all employees of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury will be offered the opportunity to volunteer as poll workers at various polling locations throughout Maricopa County.
Sarver and the players, backed by the Suns and Mercury organization, believe that the power of vote is critical for citizens to achieve the future they want.
This is huge. While Arizona is far more open in its mail-in and early voting policies than some states in the country, it should be inarguable that the more opportunities there are to vote, the better. And huge, taxpayer-owned facilities ought to serve a public function outside of simply hosting sporting events and concerts.
This year especially, the size of the venue is important considering the need for big spaces where voters will be able to socially distance.
The Madhouse is owned by the City of Phoenix, not the Suns organization, but nevertheless the Suns had been leasing it during the ramp-up to the Bubble games and clearly are the business most closely associated with the building. Conversations between Booker, Bridges and Sarver and Maricopa County elections officials including Secretary of State Katie Hobbs made this possible when the arena was deemed to not be an option.
Members of the organization will participate in voter action PSAs and other outreach programs in the lead-up to the Nov. 3 general election. Early voting in Arizona begins in October as well.
You can sign up to join members of the organization and be a poll worker here. Who knows, you might get to volunteer at The Madhouse!