As we near the end of election week, I think we can all agree that these past few days have been filled with a large amount of stress, tension, and uncertainty. While elections can be a scary time for the country, there are a few interesting sides to the process that we can focus on to serve as a fun distraction! What you might not know is that some places across the country have a little bit different of a polling process than others. While the traditional polling location might include a fire station, courthouse, or public middle school, some districts get to cast their vote in pretty unique places! Here are some of the most fascinating polling places from the 2020 election!
Out of all the states, California definitely takes the cakes for being the most creative. It’s very common in many parts of California, specifically Southern California, for businesses and private homes to be used as polling stations. Just in San Francisco alone this year, the Osmanthus Dim Sum restaurant and the Museum of Ice Cream were utilized as places where people could cast their votes. Is there any better way to multi-task than by voting and picking up dinner in the same location? If food doesn’t interest you enough, California also hosted various voting locations that were pleasing to the eye as well. In Long Beach, voters had the chance to influence democracy inside the Museum of Latin American Art. Those in Shasta County took advantage of their outdoor art exhibitions and set up polling booths in Umbrella Alley (who wouldn’t want to vote underneath countless bright and colorful umbrellas!).
California wasn’t the only state to take advantage of their art scene. New Yorkers voting in Brooklyn also had the opportunity to expand their creative palate. Polling booths were placed in the center of the beautifully ornate Kings Theater; while inside, voters could gaze upon the insanely detailed ceilings or the deep red drapes spread throughout the room. In addition, the Brooklyn Museum was open to voters, with an added bonus of programming, such as artist-led initiatives that encouraged citizens to exercise their right to vote.
This election has seen a large increase in voters submitting their ballots via mail due to COVID-19 concerns or other restrictions. In Texas, officials found a safe alternative to traditional in-person voting: voters in Austin had the chance to cast their ballot from the comfort of their car! Utilizing a polling booth on wheels, voters could simply pull up to their location and participate without even leaving their seat.
While unique polling locations are nothing new to voters in the United States, it’s interesting to see how officials were able to get creative! Hopefully four years from now there will be even more unique polls to explore!