Miami County elections board looking for new office space

The Miami County Board of Elections office was especially cramped before a remodeling moved the front counter back.

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The Miami County Board of Elections office was especially cramped before a remodeling moved the front counter back.

BOE president says court house facility is too small, not effective in handling rush of early voters.

TROY — The Miami County Board of Elections is looking for a new home for election operations and equipment storage outside county-owned facilities.

Elections Board President Dave Fisher said the existing elections office on the first floor of the 1880s county Courthouse is no longer large enough nor conducive to hosting the growing number of early voters participating in today’s elections.

“I have looked around online. There is some space available,” Fisher said. “We are going to propose it to commissioners. They have to fund it. We can flex our muscles a bit.”

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In addition, the county commissioners have asked the elections board to look at moving its election equipment storage from the Courthouse’s first floor to the basement of the nearby county Safety Building or to the Hobart Center for County Government, Fisher and Commission President Greg Simmons said.

Fisher said neither location is acceptable due to concerns about security and the chain of custody for the equipment and accessing it for election preparations including pre-vote testing.

County facility spaces explored for election operations have included the second floor of the Hobart Center. Fisher said that space accessible by one elevator and stairway is not conducive to elections.

“We have outlived it,” Fisher said of the Courthouse elections office. “We have to have our hands on that equipment when it is time to get ready for an election.”

As result, the election board Dec. 22 asked elections Director Laura Bruns and Deputy Director Ian Ridgeway to look beyond county property for possible office and storage space.

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Simmons said Dec. 29 that county Administrator Charlotte Coffey spoke with election officials after the commissioners heard about the space search discussion by the elections board.

“I don’t know a whole lot about it. Charlotte said she let them know they need to come through us,” Simmons said.

Simmons said he wanted to learn more about the situation in a meeting with the elections board/staff before commenting further.

He did note that the main elections office was remodeled this year with new carpeting and furnishings.

Fisher said the furnishings can be moved to a new office space and the painting and carpeting will have the space basically ready for the next occupants.

A meeting between election officials and commissioners is being planned for the week of Jan. 17, Bruns said Thursday.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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