Most people probably wouldn’t expect to cast their vote in a museum full of boisterous Mardi Gras-like costumes. But for anyone who lives within a three-minute walk of the Mummers Museum in South Philadelphia, in the city’s Ward 2 Division 1, that is where they will be headed to vote this Election Day.
The Mummers Museum, a 44-year-old homage to the oldest continuous folk parade in the United States, is one of the 61 polling places Ryan Donnell has documented since 2008 in his quest to photograph the most unusual polling places in America. The ongoing project, which the D.C.-based photographer embarked on in 2008, attempts to capture the process of voting in America and, in doing so, offer a view into how democracy plays out in specific regions.
“I think that idea of looking at democracy through the locations where we vote is really interesting,” says Donnell, a freelance photographer who has a background in photojournalism. “The polling places in Chicago are not like the polling places in L.A. or not like the polling places in Philadelphia or Iowa. You can see a real cross section of America through these particular places.”
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