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Hall elections office to move

New location can serve more voters

POSTED: December 11, 2007 7:19 a.m.

GAINESVILLE — The Hall County elections office will begin moving this week into a facility with more space and parking to accommodate voters.

The office, currently located by Colonial Mall Lakeshore, will begin moving into its new home on Browns Bridge Road on Thursday and will be fully up and running Monday.

Charlotte Sosebee-Hunter, interim director of elections for Hall County, said the office moved to the Dawsonville Highway location in 1999 looking for more space and a better way to accommodate voters, particularly those who vote early.

Another goal in finding a new facility was to be able to house all of the election equipment in the office. Right now, it is stored in the courthouse.

"We wanted to pull in our equipment as well as our office space together," Hunter said, "just to have one location for everything that’s pertaining to elections."

In January, Sosebee-Hunter mentioned to administration that they should look for a new facility. Toward the middle of the year, they discovered their lease would end in December. In June, they began looking at several locations within the city limits.

"We knew we would need a good amount of square footage," Hunter said. "We needed to have an area with climate control for our machines." And, "space and parking was just our main issue."

They settled on the Browns Bridge Road location, in the old Wal-Mart shopping center.

Before making a decision, Hunter said a group sat down and wrote out everything they would need in a new facility including space for computers, voting machines and conference and break rooms.

"And of course we wanted some space for early voting," she said.

Hunter said what she looks forward to most about moving into the new building is having more space and room to grow for future elections.

She said they will be more organized and will "definitely" have more touch screen units during early voting.

These will especially come in handy during the presidential election next year.

As far as voter turnout, "This is going to be an election that we can’t even imagine," Hunter said. "I can just see the numbers."

Hunter said 10,000 voters cast their ballot in the 2004 presidential election. She said seven touch screen units were available during that election, but by next November would like to have room for 15 or more of the machines.

In addition to changing locations, the elections office is changing a couple of its voting precincts.

The Chicopee precinct (Precinct 3), formerly at Jones Elementary School, has been changed to Chicopee Baptist Church.

Flowery Branch 2 (precinct 8) was changed from Christian City Church to First Baptist Church of Flowery Branch.

Hunter said three more precincts likely will be changed by July.



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