The Sampson County Board of Elections is running into issues when it comes to using the National Guard Armory as a polling place for the Kitty Fork community.
During a special meeting, held recently at election headquarters, Chairman Danny Jackson announced that the facility at 101 Armory Road, will not be available for the Tuesday, Nov. 8, election.
The change for the precinct was made known to the public several months ago. At the time, the building had high concentrations of mold inside. Jackson said Sen. Brent Jackson and military officials have been notified about the matter.
“It’s not going to be feasible for us to use because they’re still trying to get mold out of there,” Jackson said while talking about it with his colleagues.
To accommodate voters, the Star Communications Distribution Center, located at 1204 North U.S. Highway 421, was used as a replacement during the last voting event. The change took effect March 10. But Jackson indicated that it will not be enough space.
“I don’t know if that’s going to be feasible to use this time,” Jackson said about the upcoming race between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump.
There’s a possibility that a bigger facility may be used. If not, Jackson said they’ll negotiate with Star again.
“We’re looking at alternate sites,” Jackson said about setting up a space in a bigger warehouse.
Ashley Pate Tew, director of the Sampson County Board of Elections, agreed with board members on the space matter.
“The office that we used was perfect for June, but it will not work for November,” Tew said.
The board would like to use the previous location, since it would save them more than $5,000 on mailing notices to notify residents.
“Hopefully, after this election, we can get back home to the Armory,” Jackson said.
In March, the board decided to use the Sampson County Command Unit as the polling place in Kitty Fork. Election officials were given short notice about the change.
“The option was that or a tent,” Tew said. “And the county was gracious enough to let us use that, took it out and filled it up with gas to keep the air running.”
Concern was also shown to senior citizens, who had to use a set of steps to access the mobile unit in the parking lot of the Armory. Jackson and Tew added that limited access for bathroom use was allowed in the building.
After making several calls, Jackson found out the Armory building may not be available until March of 2017.
“It sort of gets aggravating, especially when it’s our tax money,” Jackson said about making several attempts for an official answer.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.