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NYC Elections to Cost $80 Million

By Amelia Pang
Epoch Times Staff
Created: June 19, 2012 Last Updated: July 16, 2012
Related articles: United States » New York City
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The Four Elections in NYC 2012

1) Republican presidential primary held in April.
2) Congressional primary next Tuesday
3) State legislative primaries on Sept. 13
4) General election on Nov. 6.

SOURCE: Independent Budget Office

NEW YORK—Despite proposed budget cuts for sensitive programs such as day care centers and education, it is estimated the city will spend a total of $80 million for the four citywide elections in 2012, according to the Independent Budget Office (IBO).

Each of the four elections may cost as much as $23 million, IBO states.

The Republican presidential primary held in April, the first of the four elections had a small turnout. Only 5 percent of eligible voters cast ballots; the cost per vote was around $522.

The price wouldn’t be as expensive if it weren’t for tight scheduling. There are usually three citywide elections per year, but a federal judge ruled that the congressional primaries in September are too close to the general election in November. Military personnel overseas would not have enough time to receive absentee ballots before the general election. Thus, a whole extra day of voting had to be added.

Having the New York legislative session running until June 21 changed the pace of the elections.
The state legislative primaries could have occurred on June 26, however, since the New York legislative session will run until June 21, the state Senate felt that five days is not enough to campaign for the legislative primary. Thus, the state legislative primaries were set on Sept. 13.

This extra voting day, including setting up stations and hiring workers, will cost an additional $23 million from the Board of Election’s budget.

The funds cover expenditures such as printing ballots, transporting voting machines to the city’s more than 1,300 polling sites, and paying about 30,000 poll workers.

On a brighter note, April’s Republican primary spent only $13.3 million while the city’s budget for that election was $23.9 million, according to Bernard O’Brien, IBO’s senior budget and policy analyst.

The original allocation was made last year, when it was assumed that Republicans and Democrats would both be holding primaries.

Additionally, the city only has 486,000 registered Republican voters. Although every polling place must be open by law, the elections board was able to combine some election districts within polling

places.

The board was able to reduce the number of voting machines needing delivery, ballots printed, and poll workers hired.

The $80 million, however, does not include the cost of overtime police officers looking after voting sites. In 2008, when federal and state elections also took place concurrently in the city, police overtime cost an average of $500,000 for each of the three election days that year.

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