West Side News

Franklin County

Elections board will open July 15 in new offices

The Franklin County Board of Elections will be open for business at its new Northland headquarters beginning Tuesday, July 15.

The board is moving from Memorial Hall at 280 E. Broad St. in downtown Columbus, where it has been since 2001, to 1700 Morse Road, the site of a former Kohl's store. A portion of the building 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," board spokesman Ben Piscitelli said.

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 downtown and a warehouse at 1719 Alum Creek Drive where voting machines are stored and votes are counted on election night.

According to a press release from the board, the popularity of absentee voting, with early voting accounting for nearly half the ballots cast in some elections, made the move necessary.

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.

Elections board Director Bill Anthony said nearly 69,000 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," he said.

Warehouse operations will move to Morse Road after the general election in November.

The board will remain open for business at 280 E. Broad St. until Thursday, July 10. The offices will be closed through July 14 as the move to the new location is completed.

-- Kevin Parks