Today is moving day for the Pottawatomie County Election Board, which is transferring its offices from the county courthouse in downtown Shawnee to the county commissioner’s building on Acme Road.
Diana Knight, Pottawatomie County Election Board secretary, said the moving process began Thursday and they anticipate to be fully moved into the new office space sometime Monday.
The election board will now be housed at 14101 Acme Road, which is located between MacArthur Street and U.S. 177 on Acme.
While more room is the biggest advantage, there’s also a large conference room that can be used for in-person absentee voting, Knight said, and there’s plenty of parking at the facility.
At the courthouse, parking can be an issue for voters, and in-person absentee voting is currently done in a small jury room across the hall from the election board. Knight said that jury room can sometimes can be unavailable should there be a jury term.
“I think it’s going to be a good move,” Knight said about the change, adding it will be an easier location for precinct officials to unload ballot boxes after elections as well.
“We’ve outgrown space here — there is more room out there,” she added.
Other than voters who visit the election board for in-person absentee voting before an election, Knight said the election board office at the courthouse sees very little foot traffic throughout the year. One reason, Knight said, is because most people update their voter registration cards at tag agencies, or conduct voter registration applications or other business by mail.
And while the moves make sense for both the election board and frees up space at the courthouse, Knight does have some mixed emotions about it.
“I've been here 35 years in the same office — it’s like home,” she said.
Commissioner Eddie Stackhouse worked with Knight and her office on making the move after the north half of the county commissioner’s building became available after no longer being leased by Workforce.
“We need space at the courthouse,” Stackhouse said, adding the election board move will free up areas than can be used for other purposes.
The Election Board was chosen for the move because it is the only office within the courthouse that is separate from other county office operations, such as the treasurer and assessor, which need to be in same courthouse building.
Stackhouse, who said there’s been no decision on what will eventually be housed the former election board space, said the courthouse is in need of more room, especially on certain court days, when the upstairs halls and the staircase are overloaded with people who have no where else to wait.
Page 2 of 2 - “I want a lobby area,” Stackhouse said, adding he would like to see a waiting room area for the public at the courthouse.
“Our courthouse is overwhelmed, crowded," he said. “The courthouse in the heart of the county — we need to make it bigger and better.”
During the move, election board telephone lines will be forwarded to the county commissioner’s building and answered by staff there, Knight said. The election board and its phones should be operational in the new office space by Monday, Knight said.
Anyone with questions can call 273-8376.