Elections office wins elbow room

After the maelstrom that was the last general election in Island County, the Election’s Office is looking for new digs.

Now that the county has formally switched to all-mail voting, nearly $180,000 in grant funds administered by the Secretary of State through the Help the America Act will make the move a little more plausible.

“There’s just not enough space here in the office and the room in back,” said Michele Reagan, voter registration deputy.

Although the exact location for a new office has not been identified, a portion of the funds have been earmarked by the county to purchase new furniture and to help finance remodeling.

In the past, the grant funds paid for electronic voting machines. Now they will pay for a new scanner and work station.

“And we’ve included voter signature verification software, but it must first be approved by the state,” said Anne LaCour, Auditor’s Office chief deputy. “But it’s in there.”

The new equipment will likely not be purchased until they have settled on a new office location.

“The commissioners have signed off on it,” LaCour said. “We were very happy to get that money.”

During canvassing meetings in the last election, chaos and claustrophobia ensued.

“We’ll be very excited to have more room,” LaCour said. “The canvassing board meetings were pretty compact. And with canvassing board meetings, the staff can’t continue processing ballots because of the current work station. The new work station will allow them to continue processing.”

In a perfect world, the elections staff would already be in their new office. But as they are well aware, this is not a perfect world.

“We’d like to have everything in place before the general election, but certainly before the presidential election next year,” she said.

“That will be really big.”

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