As local election board changes office, integrity of voting process a priority

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"It was organized chaos," General Registrar Dianna Moorman said of the move.
“It was organized chaos,” General Registrar Dianna Moorman said of moving the James City County General Registrar’s office. (Steve Roberts, Jr./WYDaily)

The United States prides itself on its clean and fair elections, but there’s more to the process than what meets the eye.

After a whirlwind weekend of packing and unpacking, maintaining the chain of custody on equipment and confidential information, and more than a dozen trips between three warehouses, an old office, and multiple conference rooms, the James City County General Registrar’s office moved Dec. 9 to the former county Parks and Recreation building off of Ironbound Road.

The move necessitated six full loads of material onto a 26-foot moving truck, as well as six full loads of sensitive election information and equipment into a Chevrolet Suburban SUV. The sensitive information and equipment required trained staff to maintain a full chain of custody.

“It was organized chaos,” General Registrar Dianna Moorman said of the move. “We had 10 movers and four staff members working like a well-oiled machine.”

The move took about three days and four members of her staff were tasked with unpacking, Moorman said. She expects it will take about a month to unpack the office fully.

The right side of the walkway is bounded by a floor-to-ceiling wall of collapsable voting booths used in the last election. Moorman said that each booth cost about $150.
The right side of the walkway is bounded by a floor-to-ceiling wall of collapsable voting booths used in the last election. Moorman said that each booth cost about $150. (Steve Roberts, Jr./WYDaily)

“I think this move is going to be great for the office and for the county,” Moorman said. “Not only are we in a space that fits our needs, but we’re also on the bus route and that helps the public as well because to this point we have never been on a public bus route.”

Moorman said she does not think the bus route would significantly increase voter turnout in the next election, but the more centrally located office would benefit a larger number of county residents. She said that increasing access to absentee ballots could increase area voter turnout more than being on a public bus route.

The elections office had been slated to move to a larger office space for about a year, Moorman said. The Board of Supervisors approved the building swap in September, and the building was fully prepared the week of the Presidential election, according to Moorman.

The freshly-painted offices are handicap accessible on both floors due to a previously installed accessibility lift.

The office is now located at 5300 Palmer Lane. The General Registrar’s office registers voters and updates records of voters for changes of address and administers elections, according to the James City County website.