Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Polling Place Bake Sale Zone?

I've voted in Texas, California, and Indiana, but something my brother tweeted this morning was new to me: apparently it's a thing that there are bake sales at polling places. I've spent some energy on twitter today trying to figure out where this happens, so I figured I might as well take it here, too. So far, we have reports of polling place bake sales in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New York City, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Michigan. In each case (I think), it's at public schools; apparently it's a good captive market to exploit. Makes sense, but then again it would make sense in CA and TX, and I didn't see it there.

My polling place in Indiana wasn't a public school, but I've voted at schools in Texas and California, without any delicious baked goods available. Twitter also supplied negatives on Philadelphia, and also one for Minnesota from someone who sounded (justifiably!) bitter.

I've worked polling places (that is, passing out literature, things like that) in a few different places, but they're all long ago and I don't have even good memories of whether they were schools or not, and it's certainly possible I'm forgetting bake sales that were there. Although you would think I would remember baked goods -- they're yummy! Anyway, for whatever it's worth, I don't remember any baked goods in NYC or CT (where others report them), or in AZ or ND (where others don't; granted, don't know that I have a big twitter following in North Dakota).

So, looking for more data. Anyone have stories?

28 comments:

  1. The Girl Scouts were having a bake sale at my polling place in Arlington, VA.

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  2. Vote at a local church in Memphis, TN and there is always a bake sale.

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  3. Cute children carrying hot cups of coffee would be showered with cash at any polling place I visit.

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  4. Last time I voted in Maryland (Silver Spring), there were people selling stuff (don't remember if it was home-made or just selling candy and cokes). It was a public elementary school.

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  5. Haven't seen any bake sales in 15 years in suburban Houston either. I've voted in elementary schools, churches, and community centers at various times. Can't remember where I would vote when I lived in Illinois--the Urbana public library, maybe?--but no tasty baked goods there, either.

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  6. My wife was busy baking cookies yesterday for our polling place bake sale (Middle School, Portsmouth, NH).

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  7. In Australia they do one better and have "sausage sizzles". Voting is compulsory so the audience is even more captive.

    http://www.electionsausagesizzle.com.au/

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  8. Lived in Maryland (suburban DC area) for every election since I turned 18. Polling place used to be a YMCA and now is a local public middle school, and I'm fairly sure there's been a bake sale table every time.

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  9. No bake sale here in Colorado, but there was something I haven't seen before: drive-thru voting! It was very low-tech, just two people in the City Hall parking lot, under a little tent with a big plastic crate where you could put in your mail-in ballot.

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  10. No bake sale in Concord, NH.

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  11. I can't say about this election, but we haven't previously had them in my former home town of Hallowell, Maine, but I kinda wish we did. Small town, lots of folks only seem to run into each other on election day, so lots of stopping chatting in space of the room between where you get your ballots, where you fill in the arrows in private booths, and where you feed the ballots into the machines. Technically, folks aren't supposed to loiter in there. A bakesale outside the ropes after folks are done voting, some tanks of coffee, seems like the chitchat would migrate out there.

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  12. I don't remember bakesales at my polling places in Illinois, Ohio, or Minnesota. At least two schools among those, but no baked goods. :(

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  13. Voted for now 20 years in CA, and only one polling place (a church) ever had anything: free coffee. All the other ones (senior centers and people's own homes) haven't had anything.

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    1. People's own homes! I'd forgotten, but for many years I voted in Los Angeles in the rec room of a nice older African-American couple who lived over in the next street. No bake sales, though.

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  14. I can't recall any bake sales either in Illinois or California. Closest I came to that was probably while working as an exit pollster for ABC News in my youth, specifically the 1980 election when Reagan beat Carter. I was posted to a suburban Chicago precinct for the early-morning shift, and if I recall, one of the poll workers brought donuts and took pity on me and let me have one. I don't know if the donuts were "official," i.e. a publicly funded service of the Cook County Clerk's office, or just that particular poll worker's largesse.

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  15. How bizarre, I've never heard of such a thing, but I've only voted in Los Angeles County. Our polling places here are pretty buttoned-down; there's nothing happening but voting. In fact, they're so buttoned-down, and have been in my 24 years of voting, that I assume it's a County policy, in practice if not in law.

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  16. The elementary school where I vote in Madison, WI had one on my last election day.

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  17. I voted in two cities in PA long ago where the polling places had baked goods available--didn't seem to rise to the intensity of a "bake sale." I'm not even sure you had to pay. None of these polling places I recall were schools. Haven't seen anything as homey here in CA since I started voting here in Nov. 1996.

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  18. I'm commenting from a polling place bake sale right now, here at the Grace Lutheran Church in the Troy Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

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  19. The elementary school I voted at in Cleveland was holding a PTA bake sale In the hall outside of the cafeteria that was used as the polling place.

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  20. My polling place in northern Ohio is a Greek Orthodox Church, and they sell baklava and similar tasty treats in the lobby.

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  21. no bake sales here. although, there are sometimes cookies and other treats. i did used to get a hug every year at my polling place. but my precinct got changed and I no longer see that friend on election day!

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    1. Nebraska, reading your other post reminded me I never told you.

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  22. In the working class ethnic neighborhoods of Youngstown, Ohio, large Catholic churches host large multiple precinct polling stations and crank out lasagna, pirogies, stuffed cabbage and other ethnic delights, each church flogging the favorites of its congregation. On election day 2008, I saw something on the order of a half ton of halushki in five pound pans sell out in less than hour, much of it to non-voters who had seen a feature story on local tv.

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  23. Upper West Side Manhattan, last two elections at least, several table (PS87 PA does everything big)

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  24. Parent teacher organizations in Massachusetts regularly hold bake sales on election day. Some of the older folks come to rely on it. $2 for a brownie though is a bit much.

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  25. Actually, our community in Massachusetts always has a bake sale (PTO sponsored) on election day. One of our schools is not a polling station, so that PTO has a bake sale at a local office complex and everyone "gets it" because election day = bake sale. Also of note, our community has been having organized food drive on election day.

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