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Your Civic Duty, As Well As Savvy Marketing

The benefits of volunteering your business as a polling place.

How's this for a riddle: On the day this month that some businesses enjoy their greatest foot traffic, they are also apt to record their lowest sales. That's because a small but growing group of companies will serve as official polling places this Election Day. In the South and West, where the population is booming, local officials are turning to entrepreneurs to host the polls, as there are too few schools, churches, and community centers to accommodate voters. Though some states train employees to run the balloting themselves, in all places, commerce is forbidden at the polls and many companies shut down for the day. Even so, entrepreneurs who have hosted past elections say there is a marketing benefit to doing so. Joe Ashford, who runs Messinger Pinnacle Peak Mortuary in Scottsdale, Arizona, says he's made funeral prearrangements with numerous customers who voted at Messinger (pictured). "This allows people who don't like to think about your business--not that you can blame them--to know that you're there," he says.

Last updated: Nov 1, 2006

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