Elections prove costly for tax payers

A man voting at a polling site. (AP)

May 4, 2010 8:50:17 PM PDT
Holding elections can be costly in North Carolina. Early voting usually begins weeks before a primary or general election, but now there's a new plan to save money.This year; win, lose or draw, candidates spent a lot of money on the primary, so did the state.

State election officials say it cost state tax payers between $8 and $11 million for each election or primary.

They have to print ballots for each registered voter and pay workers to operate the state's 3,000 precinct polls and those numbers state election officials say don't change with voter turnout.

On Tuesday at some of the polling places Ron Kirby worked at, he said he spent more time talking with fellow campaign workers, than voters.

"It's sad, I don't understand, people will cry and complain about the government the way it operates but then they don't come out and vote," Kirby said.

Two years ago, voters lined up to cast their ballots early. State election officials say 60 percent -- just over two million -- of people voted early. This time 170,000 early ballots were cast.

Cumberland County had five one-stop voting sites for this year's primary. Election officials say they are rethinking that number for November.

"The board will meet and discuss what the turnout was and what are the contested races and we may change how many we have," Board of Elections Terri Robertson said.

State election officials had hoped for around a 20 percent voter turnout across the state, but many observers say they'll be lucky if turnout is between 10 and 12 percent.

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