Jill Davis, administrator of elections, told the county’s building and grounds committee the election commission is in need of more room.

Jim Blalock, 8th District commissioner, said he watched the group on election night and saw the struggle they had bringing back the voting machines.

“We’re trying to put these all together in the same place. They’re currently in three places,” Blalock said.

Davis said machines are stored in the courthouse office and at the election commission office in the Milo Lemert Building. There are signs stored at the Cumberland County Community Complex.

Davis said the election commission had looked into leasing a 6,600-square-foot space in Woodmere Mall that would hold everything including the offices.

Davis explained there are more than 150 people during training prior to elections.

“We’d like to be able to set up the machines and leave them up,” Davis said.

Wendell Wilson, 6th District commissioner and building and grounds chairman, said the space at Woodmere Mall is $4,500 per month and over a five-year period would cost roughly $300,000.

“We could maybe build a building. We have other properties,” Wilson said.

He said there are 120 acres at the Community Complex.

Blalock said leasing the property would solve the parking situation during early voting. The property would also still be on the tax roll.

“We would still get the property tax with the lease,” Blalock said.

Carl MacLeod, 9th District commissioner, suggested the idea of having the offices and storage space located in the newly proposed expo center.

“It’s just an idea to think about,” he said.

Davis said she had some concerns about the 2020 presidential primary.

“That’s our next big election … I’m just here to let you know there is a need and we have a need,” Davis said.

She said Cumberland County has 24 voting precincts and 76 voting machines. 

The goal is to have everything in one facility.

The committee took no action, but Wilson said they would take it into consideration and see if there is anything that can be done.

Two previous election administrators approached the county commission requesting more space for their offices and storage. Those requests resulted in the county giving the election commission office space in the courthouse basement for storage.

Kyle Davis, 2nd District commissioner, did not attend the meeting.

Gary Nelson may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com

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