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Odd Polling Places

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Thursday, November 4, 2010 - 2:17pm

As voters cast their ballots Tuesday, some may have been surprised to find where their polling site was located.

It seems some of the sites have changed a bit from the traditional locations.

The Omaha, Nebraska Election Commission has been partnering with several businesses for the last few years, who have offered up their building to voters on election day.

One example, is the Courtyard Marriott at Aksarben Village.

Another is the Plaza Buick, where American pride was still on full display Wednesday, with flags flying high out front.

While business is back to normal inside, there are still some signs of the voters who flocked to the location Tuesday.

"They needed a place in this area, that had obviously space, plenty of parking, a nice environment, and we provided all that," said Jim Ziepke, owner of Plaza Buick.

The dealership even had a few extra perks for voters.

"We have a kitchen and we bake fresh cookies and coffee, so they enjoy that too!" said Ziepke.

Election Commissioner Dave Phipps said working with local businesses is a great alternative to the traditional voting sites.

"It's a great way for the businesses to give back to the community, and it's a great way for them to get people in the door, so it's kind of a win/win situation for us."

In addition to three car dealerships other unique polling sites include hotels.

Four in the county who helped this year.

The 20 Grand Theater was another interesting location

Voters there cast their ballots in the arcade.

"Everybody thinks I'm going to go to church or school and vote, but sometimes it might be to walk into the auto dealership and buy a new car at the same time you're going to vote," said Phipps. "So yeah, it's kind of a fun experience."

Although it's not the goal, Ziepke says it would be nice if votes turned into sales.

"Occasionally, even some of the people working the polls during their break and spell time, they had a few questions on some of our inventory, but it's really just making it available to the community," he said.

Phipps says he always welcomes new businesses who want to partner with the election commissioner to be a polling site in the future.

He said the necessary criteria is large space, light and handicapped accessibility.

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