Where’s new elections board office? Some say signs needed

It’s been more than a week since the Washington County Board of Elections moved out of the county courthouse to new digs at 204 Davis Ave. in the Children Services Building, but temporary signage directing voters to the new location seems to be lacking.

“There are many people who have never been to Children Services or to Marietta High School (located nearby), and if they do get to the building, there are very few signs directing them to the board of elections office,” said Marietta Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward.

He took his concerns to Mayor Joe Matthews, who’s having some directional signage made to help people find the office.

“I talked to the state elections office and they told us where the signs could be located,” Matthews said. “I’ve contacted city crews to put signs in front of the Ohio Department of Highways District 10 building (at the intersection of Muskingum Drive and Davis Avenue), directing southbound traffic to turn left and northbound traffic to turn right to get to the elections office.”

He said a sign is also to be erected on Davis Avenue directing traffic to the rear of the Children Services Building where the board office is located.

“If they’re not up yet, the signs will be up shortly,” Matthews said Tuesday.

Washington County Commissioner Tim Irvine said permanent signage is on the way and should be installed within the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile he’s purchased some temporary signs that have been placed on Davis Avenue and at the Children Services property.

“It was obvious we needed some directional signs, so I put those out myself,” he said. “But we have had signs ordered before the election board move, and they should be in within the next two weeks.”

A sign has also been placed on the old election board office on the first floor of the county courthouse, providing directions and a map to the Davis Avenue location.

Irvine said there will be a 4 by 6-foot sign just west of the Children Services entrance that will indicate 204 Davis Ave. and list the three county offices located in the building, including Children Services, the board of elections and the county emergency operations center.

A similar second sign will be installed along the driveway leading to the building’s parking lot, also listing where the offices are located.

“And each office entry door will be clearly marked,” Irvine added.

“Suite A will be Children Services, Suite B the board of elections and Suite C the emergency operations center.”

In addition to the signs, he said the Children Services parking lot has been sealed and striping is being painted to mark parking spaces, including blue-lined spaces for handicapped parking areas.

Director Tara Hupp said the board of elections website has directions and a map to help voters and others locate the new office site.

“We’ve had people coming in to register to vote who said they used those directions to get here,” she said.

The last day to register to vote in the 2013 general election is Oct. 7, and Hupp said the office will be open until 9 p.m. that day to take last-minute registrations.

“But we’ve also always promoted the idea of people registering and obtaining early absentee voting applications by mail,” she said. “And people can call to request early voting applications anytime.”

Hupp said there have been some voters coming into the Davis Avenue office to file for early absentee voting which begins Oct. 1.

She said absentee voting has been on the increase during past off-year elections. In 2009 there were 3,431 absentee voters, and in 2011 that figure had grown to 4,402.

“It’s still very early in the season to tell how we’ll do this year, but I would expect we’ll have at least 4,000 or more,” Hupp said.

Deputy elections director Peggy Byers also noted there will be plenty of “vote here” signs directing voters to the office when early voting begins in October.