Post-primary: Work continues on Monroe County election operations building, prep for fall election

view of the corner of a concrete block building in the process of getting painted. The left wall is beige. The right wall is the original color, which was blue.
View to the northwest of the Monroe County’s election operations building at the corner of 3rd and Walnut streets around midday on May 12, 2022.

A little more than a week after Tuesday’s primary elections concluded in Monroe County, work has started on preparation for voting in the Nov. 8 general election.

On Thursday morning, the county’s new election operations building, at the corner of 3rd and Walnut streets, started a planned cosmetic change.

By midday on Thursday, the building was halfway through its transformation from an iconic blue, reflecting its heritage as a NAPA auto parts store, to a more subdued earth tone.

The painting work is being done by Premier Painting, under a $9,850 contract approved by county commissioners in early March. Continue reading “Post-primary: Work continues on Monroe County election operations building, prep for fall election”

Early in-person voting kicks off for Monroe County

The trademark blue former NAPA building at 3rd and Walnut streets, just south of the new parking garage and west of the downtown transit center, is the new home to Monroe County’s voting operations.

Tuesday was the first day of in-person early voting for the May 3 primary elections.

At 8 o’clock sharp, Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne emerged from the front door to perform the ritual that marked the start of the voting day.

Browne raised her voice to the overcast sky: “Hear ye, hear ye, the polls are now open!”

In the first half hour of voting, only a handful of voters cast a ballot. By then, light rain was falling on the few candidates and volunteers who had come to canvas the early voters.

By around 4 p.m., the count of early voters had reached just 58. For the general election in 2020, Monroe County averaged more than 1,000 early in-person voters a day. It’s not surprising that  interest in the primary elections, between presidential election years, is comparatively lower.

Browne told The B Square earlier in the morning that she’d heard from other county clerks in the state that the number of requested absentee ballots was down compared to 2020. Continue reading “Early in-person voting kicks off for Monroe County”

Monroe County’s new election operations building set to go for in-person early voting on April 5

On Monday afternoon, The B Square got a peek inside Monroe County’s new election operations building.

It’s the former NAPA building at the corner of 3rd and Walnut streets.

The facility is ready to go for the start of in-person early voting, according to Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler.

Early voting is set to start at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 5.

Hours are mostly 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays through Election Day. Details for the early in-person voting schedule can be found on the Monroe County elections website.

Election Day is May 3. Continue reading “Monroe County’s new election operations building set to go for in-person early voting on April 5”

Monroe County election prep continues, Hilton rejected as poll worker training space

Poll workers for Monroe County’s May 3 primary elections won’t be trained at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Instead they’ll learn the ins and outs of working the polls at the county government center in the Showers building on Morton Street, or the new election operations center at 3rd and Walnut streets. That’s the former NAPA building.

When county commissioners came to the $4,880 item on their Wednesday agenda, an early indication that they would not be approving it came from Penny Githens. “I don’t understand why we’re asking county taxpayers to pay close to $5,000 when we have space, I thought, in the Showers building for the training,” Githens said.

Deliberations on the item were continued to a work session following the regular meeting. A $1,000 down payment that was paid to Hilton last fall was eventually determined to be refundable, which cleared the way to a 0–3 vote by commissioners on the item.

The rejection of the county clerk’s request to pay for space at the Hilton Garden Inn can be analyzed as part of ongoing friction between the clerk’s office and the election board over space allocations.

Other election-related items on Wednesday’s agenda won easy approval, including a $200,000 contract with B&L IT Services for a year’s worth of election support services. Deputy clerk Tressia Martin told commissioners that the B&L sets up all the poll sites, handles ADA compliance, ensures internet connectivity, organizes equipment storage, and creates polling location maps and an equipment catalog. Continue reading “Monroe County election prep continues, Hilton rejected as poll worker training space”