The University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center has been selected as an advanced polling center for the November general election, the athletic department highlighted Tuesday.
The basketball arena is one of 11 advanced polling locations in Prince George’s County that can be used to cast ballots from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2 between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. The Maryland State Board of Elections on Aug. 28 approved using the arena as a polling location.
“This may be the most significant competition ever to play out in our arena,” Maryland President Darryll J. Pines said in a news release. “Making it more convenient for voters and increasing turnout contributes to the cornerstone of our democracy. I’m extremely proud that our student-athletes took the lead in making this happen.”
Across the country and amid health concerns about voting during the coronavirus pandemic, sports teams are registering their arenas to be used as polling locations. Baltimore City election officials are finalizing a deal to use Oriole Park at Camden Yards as a voting center for the November election.
“We are honored to open the doors of XFINITY Center to the general public as an advanced polling location for the upcoming presidential election,” athletic director Damon Evans said. “This was one of the primary goals of our ‘VoTerp Initiative,’ and I am extremely proud of the committee members who brought this idea to life. Voting is fundamental to our human rights as American citizens and Maryland Athletics is humbled to play a role in the process.”
Terps register to vote
The Maryland men’s basketball team on Tuesday also announced that its entire team has registered to vote.
The NCAA in June released a statement urging each program to assist student-athletes in registering to vote and designate Nov. 3 as a day off to allow each athlete to vote.
Maryland’s athletic department later announced its “VoTERP” Initiative, a campaign to give student-athletes and staff the resources to register and vote in the upcoming election.
“Today is a hallmark day for our program," Mark Turgeon said in a news release. "I’m extremely proud of the men on our team for taking it upon themselves to be registered to vote. It speaks to their commitment to making impactful change in their communities. Knowing that our arena will be opening its door to the people of Prince George’s County for early voting makes it that much better. We are challenging the rest of the Maryland community to register to vote and have their voices heard.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Emily Opilo contributed to this article.