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Miami Heat frustrated after mayor rejects using arena as voting center

Miami voting

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 17: A general exterior view of American Airlines Arena prior to the Miami Heat hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Atlanta. Brooklyn. Charlotte. Cleveland. Dallas. Detroit. Houston. Golden State. Indiana. Los Angeles. Milwaukee. New York. Oklahoma City. Orlando. Phoenix. Sacramento. San Antonio. Utah. Washington.

The NBA arenas in all of those cities will be a voting center on election day or an early voting site.

Not Miami. The mayor of Miami-Dade Carlos Gimenez — a Republican candidate for Congress in November — rejected using the AmericanAirlines Arena to go with another location. The Miami Heat were angry and released this statement.

“To say we are disappointed is an understatement. But to the extent that forces involved in making this decision think this will quiet our voice on the importance of voting, they should know we will not be deterred.”

Getting people registered and out to vote — and pushing back against voter suppression tactics — has been a goal of LeBron James’ organization “More than A Vote.” That has included a push to use NBA arenas as voting centers. Two-thirds of NBA team arenas are doing just that.

Miami’s mayor chose another location, citing that AmericanAirlines Arena will be busy most years at this time with NBA games. Those, however, could be scheduled around an election.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked about this and echoed the organization’s frustration before his team went out and won Game 3 of their series against the Bucks.

“It’s a little bit of a surprise. We thought that we were on the goal line to be able to get it done, and we had really worked with the county to check all the boxes that they seemingly wanted checked,” he said. “It would have been a perfect place.

“But I will promise you this: This is not going to stop us. We’re going to get involved one way or the other. We’re just going to strategize, recalibrate, figure out what step we can take from here,” he said. “That’s with or without the county. It’s just really disappointing that that’s the decision they made.”

The Heat organization will continue work to turn out voters in November.