The mid-term elections are over, the winners have been declared and (thankfully) all the negative televisions ads have ended. But before the 2014 election fades into memory, it’s good to take a minute to appreciate the act of voting here in America.

I really like voting because it’s such a simple act that can have such big consequences for our state and country. I also like voting because it’s done so locally. Here in Iowa I’ve voted in a couple of different churches in my quiet neighborhood, usually bumping into neighbors and friends. Once in Kansas City I voted in the laundry room of an apartment building, all of us sitting on dryers until it was our turn to mark our ballots.

In rural Iowa, there are some even more unusual polling places as our photographer, Gary Fandel, found on an Election Day drive in Story County. He found a couple of polling places in machine sheds and one at a country school house.

But whether you vote in a church, a machine shed, a country school house or anywhere else, making your voice heard through the ballot box is a true privilege of being an American.

Written by Dirck Steimel. Dirck is Iowa Farm Bureau Federation news services manager and editor of the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman.