A new Supervisor of Elections office facility officially at a Northside office park opened Tuesday.
When it was first announced that the office that handles training, voting tabulation and other functions would move from Gateway to One Imeson Park Boulevard on the Northside, it raised concerns that it would harder for people on the Northside to vote. But Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland has committed to provide an early voting facility near the old election center site.
Holland said the new facility is designed for their 2014 needs and will be able to meet future needs as well, with everything on one floor, making it easier for employees. Most importantly, Holland said the rent is half the cost of the old facility, saving taxpayers money.
“Without a doubt, we constantly need to improve the efficiency of our space because we keep getting new equipment,” Holland said.
Each year brings new technology and equipment for the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office, so a brand-new, bigger building is a step in the right direction for staff. Holland said not only is the building nicer, it's more spacious and made to meet the needs of employees.
“One nice thing is, it’s all on the ground floor, so it’s easier for personnel to move around on," Holland said. "Also, we’ve got a 50-percent increase in training rooms. We now have three. It’s just a lot more efficient -- same amount of space, but a lot more efficient."
Holland said the developer made all the improvements and moved staff from the old Gateway office to the new One Imeson Park Boulevard location at no cost. He said that's why rent will now be half the cost. He also wants to remind voters that even though the new Supervisor of Elections office is on the Northside, the Gateway community will still have its own early voting center.
“For the next election it will be really nice for where our call center will be and election workers, but also the big thing is this is not where voting will be for Gateway," Holland said. "It will still have its open early voting center. We will still be voting in that community. This is really here to process the absentee ballots, to do recounts, to do the final election night tallies is done here at the election center."
Despite assurance that no Gateway-area voters would be inconvenienced, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown on Tuesday continued to express concern about the move disenfranchising African-American voters.