Elections costly for county, candidates

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 10, 2004

Election time can be a great expense for many different reasons.

Money must be spent in many different areas to ensure that things are done properly. Elections can also be expensive for the individual that chooses to run.

Signs, bumper stickers and cards must often be purchased in addition to the qualifying fee.

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In the 2002 election Butler County spent $137,333 total.

However, the county had expected to spend much more. A budget of $183,150 had been set.

Though the election spending may seem high, a certain amount of it is reimbursed by the state.

But, as long as there are county elections the county must pay most of the bill.

The expenses come from all positions needed to run an election.

&uot;We pay election workers $73 apiece and there are 165 of them,&uot; said County Administrator Diane Kilpatrick. &uot;That can add up.&uot;

For absentee ballots an election manager is also needed.

In the last election the county spent $3,150 for an election manager.

&uot;We usually pay them $70 a day for 45 days,&uot; said Kilpatrick. &uot;That was what we paid in the last election.&uot;

There will be some relief from the state in the 2004 elections.

Because the District Attorney’s race is in the mix the state will help with the poll workers.

The state will reimburse Butler County $70 of the $73 that will be paid to the workers.

Because there are 165 of them this will be a big help.

Aside from the people that must be provided for an election, supplies must also be purchased.

Everything from voting machines to advertising must be included to make an election work.

&uot;Supplies for the last election cost $30,343,&uot; said Kilpatrick. &uot;That’s for the voting machines, ballot workers and everything else.&uot;

The county must also advertise to make sure that people are informed about important dates and other election information.

During the 2002 election the county spent almost $24,371 for advertising.

Postage could also become an expense for the county during elections.

In the past it had been the voters responsibility to pay the postage on absentee ballots.

However, during this election it may be up to the county to provide postage.

The county is not the only one that may take on great expenses for the election.

Candidates can also feel the burn in trying to get their name in the public eye.

Campaign signs often run the biggest expense.

&uot;A 12 inch by 18 inch sign with color can run up to $4,&uot; said Bonnie Hester of Camellia Printing. &uot;How many they get just depends on how much they want to spend.&uot;

If a candidate chooses to go all out they may spend much more.

&uot;Bumper stickers run around $170,&uot; said Hester. &uot;That is just for the first 125. If they want more than that it gets more costly because you usually have to order them 125 at a time.&uot;

Current commissioner and 2004 candidate Frank Hickman also said that the price on a good campaign could be high.

&uot;&uot;It can run as much as $3,000 to $5,000,&uot; said Hickman. &uot;It can be as much or as little as you want it to be, but I think that that figure is about right.&uot;

Hickman said that there are many things that go into a successfully campaign.

&uot;If you start out with 1,000 cards that is about $200,&uot; said Hickman. &uot;When you add in the $600 it costs to qualify and road signs for about $500 you have already spent a lot of money.&uot;

Hickman said that there are also extra’s that can be helpful but are costly.

&uot;Some people also choose to do radio advertisements and newspaper ads too,&uot; said Hickman. &uot;With all of the expenses added up you can easily spend up to $5,000.

Everyone feels the pinch at election time.

However, all of the expenses are necessary evils.

There is no single aspect of the election that can be cut.

In order to have an organized election these funds must be sacrificed.