Commissioners add voting space at Curry Building

Space for early voting will almost double with the recent decision to expand available space in the Curry Building at 214 W. Seventh St.

The building will also provide more shelter from possible inclement November weather for those waiting to vote.

New space will be made available by an early move of the Parks and Recreation Department, a permanent move previously planned. It will vacate its space in the Curry Building and move to its new home in the City Hall - Showers Building at 401 N. Morton St.

The decision by the Monroe County Commissioners, including Commissioner Iris Kiesling, comes after a delay in solving the overflow site situation by the Monroe County Election Board.

“I think this will be very good for handling overflow,” Kiesling said.

Concern about the need for an overflow site to accommodate the heavy Curry Building traffic arose at Election Board meetings in recent weeks.

An original proposal involved opening up space at the Showers Building to handle crowds of voters.

At an Election Board meeting last week, Election Board Chairwoman and Republican member Judith Smith-Ille did not vote to approve the proposal, citing a need to consult her party’s chairman and investigate parking issues.

This delayed the hiring of seasonal workers to man satellite voting sites.

Kiesling said the Election Board simply wasn’t aware of the option to have the Parks and Recreation Department move early. Kiesling called the process a juggling act, a “musical offices” of sorts. When Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins heard the idea, she was all in favor, she said.

“We’re very happy,” Robbins said. “We have no further need for the extended hours or days at any of the locations.”

The expansion of Curry space also simplifies the overflow situation, consolidating voter attention to one building instead of two.

Kiesling and Robbins said there are enough parking spaces at the Curry Building, though they will have to work with the City of Bloomington to free up city-owned spaces on Morton Street.

Robbins said parking might be an issue, as the city has been reluctant to free up spaces in the past.

Other decisions concerning the election season, including poll opening and closing times, operating dates of voting satellite sites and any additional amendments to the list of sites have yet to be decided.

“We should have had all this done in August,” Robbins said.

She noted the problems with securing satellite voting dates and times, caused by the extended decision period.

The remaining issues will be addressed at the Sept. 6 Election Board meeting. Robbins said these matters would not drag on beyond then.

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