from Board of Elections
The Franklin County Board of Elections will be open for business at a new address beginning Tuesday, July 15. It is moving from Memorial Hall at 280 East Broad Street - the board's location since 2001 - to 1700 Morse Road, the site of a former department store that served as the county's early voting center for the 2012 general election.
The Morse Road facility has been renovated to give Franklin County additional space for day to day elections business and enough room to accommodate large numbers of early voters plus free parking for hundreds of cars.
The complex covers more than 90,000 square feet compared to roughly 70,000 square feet at two existing locations - the board's main office in downtown Columbus and a warehouse at 1719 Alum Creek Drive where voting machines are stored and votes are counted on election night.
Officials say the popularity of absentee voting - with early voting accounting for nearly half the ballots cast in some elections - made the move a necessity. Early voting for an Aug. 5 special election and this year's Nov. 4 general election will be held at the new site. Some poll worker training will be held there as well.
"We've needed a larger facility under one roof for years. Nearly 69,000 thousand voted early at the Morse Road location in the 2012 general election. It would be extremely difficult to accommodate that many voters with a smaller building and limited parking at our present downtown location," Director Bill Anthony said.
Warehouse operations will move to Morse Road after the general election in November.
"We have more than 4,500 voting machines stored at the warehouse for use in the general election," added Deputy Director Dana Walch. "It's more efficient to keep them there until they're needed and move them to Morse Road after the election," Walch said.
The board will remain open for business at 280 East Broad Street until Thursday, July 10. The offices will be closed through July 14 as the move to the new location is completed.