Registrar settles in to new digs

Published 7:31 pm Saturday, December 26, 2009

Voters who need to change their address, cast an absentee ballot or conduct other election business now have a new building to visit — just in time for the 2010 midterm election season.

The voter registrar’s office and central absentee precinct relocated last month to the first floor of the new Human Resources building, 440 Market St., directly across from City Hall. The Social Services Department was located in this building prior to its move to 135 Hall Ave.

“It’s going to be good for the public,” said Sharon Thornhill, general registrar for the city’s voters. “We’re in the process now of notifying the public.”

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Federal law dictates that any change in the address or phone number of the voter registrar must be sent to all the city’s registered voters — meaning the department soon will send more than 50,000 postcards to homes throughout the city.

The move should save the city about $65,000 annually in lease payments, Capital Programs and Buildings Director Gerry Jones told City Council last week. The registrar’s former space at 425 W. Washington St. was being leased, and the city was responsible for the upkeep on the space.

“We’ve got more rooms,” Thornhill said while giving a tour on Tuesday. “I like it. I liked over there too, but this is really nice.”

Thornhill noted the building has plenty of parking and will be more easily found by voters.

“Most people know where the municipal building is,” Thornhill said, indicating City Hall across the street. “It won’t be hard to find us here.”

The city’s voting machines, which are required by law to be stored in a secure space, now are kept in the former police department headquarters. They formerly passed most of their time in a separate space at the Washington Street location.

To reach the voter registrar, call 514-7753.