The Howard County Elections Administration will be getting a new office, however, voters won't have to look far from the old location to find early voting polls in April.
The elections office â€” which has been located on the third floor of the Howard County Courthouse for the past several years â€” will be moving to the former sheriff's office on the first floor of the courthouse Monday, according to County Elections Administrator Saundra Bloom.
â€śWe actually began the move Friday,â€ť Bloom said. â€śWe're hoping to have everything wrapped up Monday. We have to have the computers moved and set up and we're also waiting for the phone company to come and switch over the phone lines from the third-floor office to the new space. We're hoping it won't take the entire day Monday, however, a lot of it is sort of up in the air.â€ť
Bloom said she will have employees in the new office Monday, although it's unclear how long it will take before phone lines and computer systems are up and running.
â€śWe'll do our best to help folks who come into the office, but a lot of it will simply depend on what resources we have available to us.â€ť
Bloom said Monday's move is a timely one for the upcoming elections.
â€śThe May election was always a concern when it came to this move,â€ť Bloom said. â€śIn fact, the plan has been that if we couldn't get into the new office by the end of March, we'd simply hold up on it until after the May elections. Luckily, however, we'll be ready to hold the upcoming election from the new office.â€ť
The first-floor locale promises to be a voter-friendly environment, she said.
â€śThe space we'll have for early voting polls won't be quite as large as the one we had on the third-floor, however, I feel like it will still be more than adequate for the kind of traffic we have,â€ť Bloom said. â€śWe expect to be able to handle between six to eight early voters at a time.
â€śBeing on the first floor, I think the new office will be an improvement for our disabled and elderly voters who like to come in and cast their ballots in person. We won't have to worry about the status of the courthouse elevators and it will be a much shorter distance for them to go. We'll still offer curbside voting, but being on the first floor will also mean less of a trek for our election employees, as well.â€ť
Early voting in municipal and school board elections is set to run from April 29 until May 7, with polls open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. May 3 is the deadline for voters to request a ballot by mail in time for the May 11 election.
For more information, contact Bloom at 432-264-2273.