By DENISE A. RAYMO
---- — MALONE — Franklin County Board of Election commissioners are on a Feb. 15 deadline to find new polling places in Malone.
Consolidating sites is expected to save money because fewer election inspectors would be needed, and the bulky voting machines wouldn’t have to be toted to as many places.
But Commissioners Veronica King (Republican) and Kelly Cox (Democrat) told legislators that they have until the close of business Friday, Feb. 15, to find a suitable spot in Malone, which currently has 10 election districts in three sites.
They want everything under one roof in Malone. But finding a centralized spot large enough to hold the machines and have ample parking is a challenge.
King said Tupper Lake and Bellmont have already consolidated.
Tupper Lake went from five sites to one at the former Holy Ghost Academy, and Bellmont went from three to one at the Town Justice Building.
Fort Covington also closed a site at the Effie Ellsworth home on County Route 4 and will send everyone to the Fort Covington Fire Department to vote instead.
Chateaugay moved to the Village Offices, and the merger of Brushton and Moira polling sites to the Town Highway garage is expected to be voted on at the Town Council’s next meeting, on Tuesday.
The commissioners said all voters will receive notifications by mail about the changes to their polling places and where they should vote.
Polling sites remain the same in the towns of Bangor, Bombay, Brandon, Brighton, Burke, Constable, Dickinson, Duane, Franklin, Harrietstown, Santa Clara, Waverly and Westville.
The Board of Elections is reviewing sites in Malone, including the Quality of Life Building on Bare Hill Road, the Knights of Columbus on Elm Street and St. John Bosco Church on West Street and the former Bishop Smith School on Webster Street, because two of the existing sites no longer work.
Holy Family School poses parking problems but, more importantly, security issues because hundreds of people enter and leave the building throughout the day virtually unmonitored.
And the Malone Adult Center serves as a congregate-meal site for senior citizens and headquarters for Meals on Wheels, programs that are disrupted during an election.
King said that, if it had to, the county could put five districts at St. John Bosco’s, for example, and the others at the Adult Center.
But they’d still like other alternatives.
“We’d like to keep Cedar Commons and one other place or find a big place for all 10 (districts),” she said, adding that “we wouldn’t need as many poll workers.”
Email Denise A. Raymo: email@example.com