Striking photos show 21 of the strangest places people have voted in the US

Venice Beach lifeguard headquarters in Los Angeles.
Surfer Mike Weigart pictured on Election Day in 2012.Reed Saxon/AP
  • While some voters head to churches or schools on Election Day, others cast their votes in more unique places.

  • Americans have voted inside museums, bars, and public pools, to name a few.

  • From the quirky to the macabre, here are 21 unique polling places where Americans have voted.

Some voters headed to the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, New York, on Election Day.

Brooklyn Museum polling station in Brooklyn, New York.
The Brooklyn Museum turned into a polling center on Election Day in 2016.ANGELA WEISS/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Museum opens its doors to voters every year. In 2020, to celebrate Americans' right to vote, the museum displayed Ed Ruscha's "OUR FLAG," which it calls "a windswept, torn, and threadbare American flag that invokes the precarious nature of democracy."

In 2022, the museum hosted an interactive neighborhood-inspired art project, according to the Brooklyn Museum website.

In 2012, surfers in wetsuits showed up at the Venice Beach lifeguard headquarters in Los Angeles.

Venice Beach lifeguard headquarters in Los Angeles.
Surfer Mike Weigart pictured on Election Day in 2012.Reed Saxon/AP

While voting in the 2012 presidential election at Venice Beach lifeguard headquarters in Los Angeles, 30-year-old surfer Mike Weigart told the AP, "It's awesome the polling place is where I surf."

Voters cast their ballots in the 2016 presidential primary as swimmers completed laps in the Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angeles.

Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angelos, California.
A polling place at the Echo Park Deep Pool in Los Angeles in 2016.Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The Echo Park pool is an indoor pool complex open year-round for activities including diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming.

In 2006, voters cast their midterm ballots at a polling place inside Visions Hair Salon in Downey, California.

Visions Hair Salon in Downey, California.
Voters at Visions Hair Salon in Downey, California, in 2006.ROBYN BECK /Getty Images

According to Getty, it's common for businesses as well as private homes in Southern California to be used as polling stations on Election Day.

Voters waited in line at a fire station in Arlington, Virginia, to vote during Super Tuesday in 2016.

Fire Station #10 in Arlington, Virginia.
Voters at Fire Station #10 in Arlington, Virginia, in 2016.SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at Fire Station 10 in Arlington, Virginia.

Thousands of cremated remains surrounded voters casting their ballots at the Neptune Society Columbarium in San Francisco.

Neptune Society Columbarium poll.
Voters at the Neptune Society Columbarium in 2008.David Paul Morris/Getty Images

The Neptune Society Columbarium, built in 1898, is a historical landmark and home to 8,500 cremated human remains, many of which belong to famous names including former San Francisco Mayor Edward Robeson Taylor and the parents of Carlos Santana.

It turns into a polling place during elections.

Taquerias Los Comales in Chicago isn't just a respected Mexican restaurant; it has also served as a polling place.

Taquerias Los Comales in Chicago, Illinois.
Voters casting ballots at Taquerias Los Comales in 2012.David Paul Morris/Getty Images

On any normal day, patrons would be lining up at Taquerias Los Comales in Chicago for Mexico City-style tacos. But on Election Day in 2012, voters were there to cast their ballots.

In the 2018 midterm elections, a Harley Davidson dealership in Long Beach, California, turned into a polling place.

Harley Davidson dealership
A Harley Davidson dealership in Long Beach, California, in 2018.MARK RALSTON/Getty Images

During midterm elections in 2018, Moises Valentin, a pastor voting at the Long Beach polling place, told Rappler, "Usually we vote in the schools or churches. Yeah, it's unusual actually, now that I think of it."

Levele Wiley, an employee at Los Angeles International Airport, told the site, "It's pretty cool. I mean, it's nice to come look at some bikes and get your vote on. In that sense, nothing seems more American than that."

A museum-goer observed artwork as people voted in the 2016 presidential election at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago.

The Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois.
The Swedish American Museum in Chicago in 2016.TASOS KATOPODIS/Getty Images

When the Swedish American Museum isn't being used as a polling place, tourists often visit the Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration, use the site's genealogy center, or try Swedish food, according to its website.

It can no doubt get a little cramped on Election Day in this one-room schoolhouse in Colo, Iowa, in 2016.

Old school house in Colo, Iowa.
A one-room schoolhouse in Colo, Iowa, in 2016.Scott Morgan/Reuters

Schools are a common location for polling places, but few are as unique as this one-room schoolhouse, which served as a polling place in the 2016 presidential election.

In previous elections, you could shop and vote at the Foodland grocery store in National City, California.

Voters in a grocery store in National City, California.
Voters cast their ballot in a grocery store in 2006.Mike Blake/Reuters

Grocery stores are normally a popular location for polls, but in 2020, the coronavirus made them less safe, leading states like Texas to opt for other polling spaces.

A laundromat in Chicago, Su Nueva Lavanderia, has also doubled as a polling place.

Su Nueva Lavanderia in Chicago, Illinois.
A voter at Su Nueva Lavanderia polling place in Chicago in 2016.Jim Young/Reuters

During past elections, voters were able to knock two items off their to-do list: vote and do laundry.

People voted in the 2016 presidential election as mechanics worked on cars at a Philadelphia auto shop.

Auto garage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
An auto shop turned into a polling place for the 2016 election.Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

You might be able to vote and get your car serviced at the same time if your polling place is an auto garage.

Ray Lounsberry has turned his farm shed near Nevada, Iowa, into a polling place for more than 15 years.

Farm shed near Neveda, Iowa.
Ray Lounsberry's farm shed in 2016.Scott Morgan/Reuters

According to the Ames Tribune, each election, Ray Lounsberry — who was 93 during the 2016 presidential election — wakes up at 6 a.m. to turn on the heat in his shed and set up the voting machines. He offers the roughly 300 voters assigned to the precinct coffee and frees up space in a refrigerator for poll workers' lunches.

Lounsberry told the outlet that he doesn't mind sharing his shed; in fact, he volunteered it after voting at a different shed years ago that had very little heat, which he felt discouraged people from going out and voting.

"I feel like I'm doing a service to the county by letting them use this," Lounsberry said. "I don't mind at all."

The Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club in Louisville, Kentucky, served as a polling place in 2019.

Mockingbird Vally Soccer
Voters at Mockingbird Valley Soccer club.John Sommers II/Reuters

A line of voters cast their ballots inside the Mockingbird Valley Soccer club in Louisville, Kentucky.

Voters cast their ballots inside Salt Lake City's beautiful Krishna Temple, which was modeled after Rajasthani architecture.

Krishna Temple in Utah.
The Krishna Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2014.Rick Bowmer/AP

Churches are commonly used as polling places, but voting at a Hindu temple in the heart of Mormon country is truly unique.

On November 8, 2016, Lawn Lanes Bowling Alley in Chicago opened up its lanes to voters.

November 8, 2016 voting day at the Lawn Lanes Bowling Alley in Chicago.
The Lawn Lanes Bowling Alley in Chicago served as a polling place on November 8, 2016.Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

According to the Associated Press, the Early Bird bowling league allowed bowlers to try their hand at a strike while voters cast their ballots in 2016.

In 2008, voters cast their ballots next to stuffed mountain lions in the Rotary Nature Center in Oakland, California.

Tony Woolf marks his ballot next to a stuffed mountain lion at a polling place in the Rotary Nature Center at Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008
A voter marks his ballot next to a stuffed mountain lion in Oakland, California, 2008.San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers/Getty Images

At Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, the Rotary Nature Center served as a polling place on November 4, 2008. The wildlife refuge is an interpretive museum that houses educational displays and exhibits, according to the Visit Oakland tourist organization.

At Friends Bar in San Francisco, voters could grab a beer and cast their ballot on the same visit in 2020.

A voter casts a ballot at a polling station in Friends Bar on November 3, 2020 in San Francisco, California.
A voter casts a ballot at a polling station in a bar in 2020.Stephen Lam/Getty Images

On November 3, 2020, Friends Bar opened up its doors to voters in San Francisco.

In June 1994, a funeral home in Santa Monica became a polling place for the living.

The Pierce Brothers-Moeller Murphy Funeral Home in Santa Monica June 7, 1994
The Pierce Brothers-Moeller Murphy Funeral Home in Santa Monica served as a polling place in June 1994.Vince Compagnone/Getty Images

According the Getty Images, this polling place attracted "few voters" in a "rather 'dead'" election.

Voters in need of a new president and a new washing machine could kill two birds with one stone on November 8, 2016, in Pennsylvania.

Voters cast their ballots in a polling location inside Mike's TV and Appliance November 8, 2016 in State College, Pennsylvania
Voters cast their ballots in a polling location inside Mike's TV and Appliance in 2016.Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

At Mike's TV and Appliance store in State College, Pennsylvania, voters could be seen casting their ballot right next to brand-new washing and drying machines.

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