Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Polling places not always par for course

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

From hotels in Fort Mitchell and golf courses in Mason, to homes in Hyde Park and the Metro bus offices, polling places wind up in quirky locations.

Most voters cast their ballots at schools, community centers and churches.

But in some precincts, securing polling places with handicap access and nearby parking can require imagination.

In Mason, citizens with time on their hands could vote, then tee off for a quick nine holes at the Crooked Tree Golf Course, one of at least five golf courses serving as polling places Tuesday.

"The election days are typically not our busiest times, so we said, 'Sure, we can be a polling place,' " said general manager Joe Bischoff.

In Fort Mitchell, citizens voted in a back room of a Ramada Inn because their previous polling place - a nearby restaurant - had gone out of business.

Even with the move, turnout for Tuesday's election was "excellent," said poll worker Juanita Kroger.

For nine years, some Delhi residents have been voting in the back room of Maloney's Pub, right next to temporarily de-activated video games.

"This is our way of giving something back," said owner Bob Kasee.

"The game room has its own door and a ramp. We section it off so people don't even see the bar."

Other unusual polling places: Madison Bowl, the Cincinnati Art Museum, Nolte Precise Manufacturing in Colerain Township and a Mariemont florist.

Meanwhile in Hyde Park, Anderson Township and Reading, some voters cast ballots in the garages and basements of homes.

Owners of nongovernmental buildings collect a small fee - usually about $50 - for serving as a polling place.

The main requirements: being handicap-accessible and having nearby parking for voters.


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