Elections board begins $1.8 million renovation

In-person voting

The Montgomery County Board of Elections hopes to have a $1.3 million renovation complete in time for the 2015 election season — work that could improve in-person voting in the county office.

Two floors will be reconstructed in order to make more room for voting machines amid increasing numbers of in-person voters at the board office over the last few years. Bids will go out for the project next week.

“It’s tight. It gets a little jammed in here at the lower level,” board director Jan Kelly said. “We’re trying to create large chunks of new space that we can utilize.”

Work has begun on the lower level, where the board plans to store voting machines and hold training. A freight elevator will also be installed to enable moving of the large machines, Kelly said.

“This will give us more space for our machines and training, and help us out with logistics and accuracy,” Kelly said.

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The first phase of the upgrade is set to be complete by Memorial Day. The next phase, a renovation of the main level, is scheduled to be finished by Sept. 1, 2015. The staff will move downstairs during the main level renovation. Eventually, the board plans to hold in-person voting on the main level during major elections.

The board will also purchase a large sorting machine for the large number of absentee ballots that come in during election season.

The majority of the cost for construction is coming from the county’s general fund. Office-related costs, such as furniture, will come from the board’s budget, Kelly said.

“We’ve been saving for this,” she said.

The board of elections has been in its current offices since April 2001, when it moved from the Reibold building.

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