By Richie Ramos

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Golden 1 Center is primarily known as the home of the Sacramento Kings, but with basketball season over and election season hitting its final stretch, the arena has been transformed into a voting center.

At Golden 1 Center, fans are used to rallying behind the Kings. They haven’t been able to do that in over seven months.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday and continuing for the next 11 days, it’s the Kings who will be supporting the community by bringing “Rally The Vote” to Golden 1 Center.

“I want my voice heard. That’s it,” said Donald Hudson, who voted at the arena.

The last time the arena was open to the public was back in March when COVID-19 brought the Kings’ season to an abrupt halt.

Now, G1C is finally reopening its doors. But this time, Kings player Harrison Barnes isn’t back on the court – he and his wife Brittany are casting their ballot on day one of his home arena’s transformation into a voting center.

“I think it’s important to come out here and to vote in person if you feel safe and are able to do it,” Barnes said.

Hudson, 62, avoided a crowd by casting his vote early.

“It was exciting to have somewhere close by because I live not far so I could just come and vote,” he said.

The Kings began Rally The Vote in 2018. It was then a nine-team coalition that has grown into 51 teams and leagues participating, including 21 NBA arenas serving as voting centers.

“When we built this, my vision was this would be the communal fireplace. In the old days, people gathered around the fireplace,” said Vivek Ranadive, Kings owner. “Later on it was a cathedral, a town square. So this is the 21st-century gathering place, and I want people to gather and to vote.”

You can do more than just vote here. As a full-fledged voting center, you can register to vote, pick up a ballot, or simply drop off a completed ballot.

“To be able to provide so much space to our voters, to make sure that all of our voters have the opportunity to space out and make sure that we enforce and follow social distancing rules, this is just the perfect venue to be able to do that,” said Courtney Bailey-Kanelos, with the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters.

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