MARIETTA — Cobb County’s elections office moved into its new digs this month at the former Mansour Center on Roswell Street.
The 60,000-square-foot facility, which replaces the former Whitlock Avenue office, brings all of the office’s operations under one roof.
That includes early voting locations, ballot-processing and a sprawling warehouse for hundreds of the county’s voting machines, Elections Director Janine Eveler told the MDJ in a tour of the facility this week.
“It’s much more secure than the places we were at before,” said Eveler, noting the building is completely badge access-controlled and has more than 30 security cameras. “Having everything co-located in one location, one building, means we’re not transporting things back and forth, so that in itself is more secure.”
Previously, election operations were scattered across the county. While early voting was conducted at the Whitlock office, ballots were typically counted at Jim Miller Park. Voting machines, meanwhile, were housed at a Kennesaw warehouse.
Cobb County paid $7.5 million to purchase the building, and last September, allocated another $3.9 million for renovations.
As of this week, the only part of the office which was fully up and running was the reception area, where residents can register to vote. The room also includes a booth where residents who don’t have a driver’s license can obtain an elections-specific photo ID.
A major change includes a long hall where voters can queue indoors, safe from the elements, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking in on the ballot-counting room.
The plan, however, is to have the facility fully operational in time for the November 2022 statewide elections.
Whether early voting in November will be held at the Whitlock office or the Roswell office remains to be seen, Eveler said.
“(The Board of Elections) mentioned in the last meeting that they wanted perhaps to have voting continue over at the Whitlock location so that people aren’t confused,” Eveler said. “We are advocating that we move it over here, and then have somebody over there that can direct people to this.”
Besides consolidating services, the new building’s other appeal, she added, is its more central location.
Said Eveler, “We’re very near about three bus routes, and the other location was not on a bus route at all. So it’s much better for the population that needs transportation.”
The elections office plans to hold an open house and job fair at the new location, located at 995 Roswell St., on Sept. 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.