Posted on

Smooth, but boring, Primary at Gov’t. Center

My Opinion
Ross Schulz, Staff Writer

The first election with the Harrison County Government Center acting as the host site for gathering precinct results is in the books, and, for the most part, everything seemed to be smooth sailing, especially with new procedures and routines for the poll workers of the 39 precincts (that’s an increase of three since the last countywide election).
Circuit Court Clerk Sherry Brown said with the new location for receiving votes, new polling places, new precincts and procedures set up the day and evening for the ‘perfect storm’ but the problems just didn’t arise.
‘We had one or two phone calls about going to the wrong polling places and that was it,’ Brown said.
Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye had a couple of his officers work the entrance to the Government Center to ensure poll workers knew where to park to drop off ballots (Seelye was on hand as well).
The projector screens in two rooms ‘ one each for Democrats and Republicans ‘ kept everyone apprised of the up-to-date results, and each precinct was counted and reported by 8 p.m., two hours after the polls closed.
CyberTek (software consultants) was on hand throughout the evening to make sure the software was firing on all cylinders. The voting machine supplier, Hart Intercivic, also had a representative on hand for the process.
The low turnout for the Primary made for a nice trial run before the November General Election, which will be a presidential election and could lead to strong voter numbers. It should run even more smooth in November now that everyone knows what to expect at the Government Center on election night.
A few changes could be made to enhance the atmosphere during the tabulation of the ballots. More than a few people described the evening, which is generally an exciting time for Harrison Countians, as boring. Whether it was because of the lack of contested races or interest in the Primary, the election night buzz and excitement was nowhere near what it used to be at the downtown courthouse. For those who would prefer to move the election-night fun back to the courthouse, remodeling to the building since the last election prevents that from happening. Plus, the technological infrastructure is stronger and more easily accessible at the newly refurbished Government Center.
A suggestion at the new location would be, instead of walling off each party’s room in the conference area of the building, to leave the room open as a big gathering place for all interested spectators of both parties or for someone who doesn’t align with the Democrats or Republicans. The conference room area (the first room on the left when entering the main entrance of the Government Center) has more than enough space for the media as well, instead of isolating them in the council/commissioners room across the hall, where the results weren’t even being broadcast.
This fall’s election will obviously have the presidential race attraction, but there will also be many intriguing local races that should make for an unforgettable election night.
So, let’s tear down the wall that divides the parties in the conference room and let the fun begin.