Douglas County strikes deal with Minden for early voting

Douglas County's early voting is so successful, Clerk-Treasurer Barbara Griffin asked the Minden Town Board to make the CVIC Hall available for the 2008 primary and general elections.

The board agreed to rent the hall to the county for $300 a day to accommodate what Griffin predicted will be a huge turnout for a "very passionate election."

As a result, several 2008 functions traditionally held at the CVIC Hall - including the annual Basque club picnic, Trick-or-Treat Safety Street, and two theater productions - will have to relocate or be rescheduled.

"In the last election, we had 800 early voters per day," Griffin told the Minden Town Board last week.

"The last week, there were 1,000 voters per day," she said.

Griffin said the Minden Inn was too cramped to accommodate the voters, some of whom complained that the machines were close together, jeopardizing privacy.

"We need an area where the booths can be confidential," she said. "We had to reduce the numbers of machines. The CVIC Hall offers a much larger area."

She asked for the hall from July 25-Aug. 9 for the 2008 primary and Oct. 17-Nov. 1 for the general election.

Federal law mandates that once the machines have been placed in the hall, it can't be used for any other function because of confidentiality.

"I appreciate the dilemma it puts you in," Griffin said. "I don't think any of us thought early voting would be as successful as it was. I've come to you well in advance so we can work out these challenges."

She said she considered using the Douglas County Engine Co. fire station but the building was not equipped for people with disabilities.

Another suggestion, the former C.O.D. Garage, is half the size of the Minden Inn.

Griffin started out offering $200 a day rental for the CVIC and closed the deal at $300 which will net the town $9,600.

"I can't go above that," she said.

The town's standard charge is $25 an hour from 6 a.m.-1 p.m. and $50 an hour from 1 p.m.-midnight.


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