New center in Minneapolis puts all city elections services in one spot for first time

When it comes to running elections in a city as big as Minneapolis, you have to be organized -- and that’s a lot easier to do when you’re in one spot. Friday, we got a look at a brand new facility where the city has brought in its elections equipment.

The new center is a game-changer for officials who previously had to work around equipment that was spread out in different locations in Minneapolis. Now, it’s all under one roof which makes a huge process a lot easier to deal with.

If you thought elections were just about a single day, Grace Wachlarowicz, the director of Election and Voter Services in Minneapolis, will tell you they’re not.

"Everyone sees the polls early voting, but no one really understands what it takes to prepare for the elections," said Wachlarowicz.

"For each election, it’s a matter of three to four months of preparation and a month wrap up," added Wachlarowicz.

Wachlarowicz is focused on details and making sure each precinct has what it needs, including the things you’ve never even thought of.

"Magnifiers for people to see, where to put the pens and pencils," she said.

The Mayor, City Council members, and the Secretary of State were on hand for the official opening of the Elections and Voter Services facility.

"The public sees only part of it," explained Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. "They see what they see on stage or on screen. Elections are like that, there’s so much that goes on in that back room -- not just the physical stuff -- but so many other processes."

The building on Hennepin Avenue will serve Minneapolis residents as an early-voting location and will be a year-round office for election officials. The location will also be a place to train election judges, test equipment, and count absentee ballots.

Wachlarowicz also tells us other cities the size of Minneapolis have their voting services under one roof. So, it was unusual they were so spread out. She says security will be top priority, saying it will be like Fort Knox around all that equipment.