The Great Bend Township in Barton County currently votes at the Science and Math building at Barton Community College. The area assigned for use at the college will not work with the new voting equipment. Barton County Election Officer Donna Zimmerman says the area provided by the college is a hallway setup and with tables now used for paper ballots or ExpressVote machines, the voting location needs more space.
Zimmerman recommended using the Barton County Sheriff’s Firing Range.
“It would require a change of the college to go down the hall a little into a classroom and it’s already a bit of walk to get into the college,” Zimmerman said. “Talking with Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir and County Administrator Phil Hathcock, we thought that using the firing range might be an alternative plan.”
The only issue with using the facility at the county-owned firing range is ADA compliance. The parking lot is loose rock and must be solid surface parking. The Barton County Commission passed the resolution to authorize the Road and Bridge Department to pave the parking area to aid public voting.
“I think once voters get a accustom to the location, it will work out very well,” Zimmerman added. “We wouldn’t need to use this location until November, so it’s not something that would need to be done right away.”
The paving project is not to exceed $5,500 and will be paid from the Capital Improvement Fund.
“This might serve the taxpayer better to not have to be intimated by a large building and signs and where to go to vote,” Commission Chair Jennifer Schartz said.
In March, Commissioners passed a motion to purchase new voting equipment to replace the aging machines for $183,903.