Runoff election to cost county over $15,000

Published 11:57 am Thursday, April 12, 2012

Voters across the state are preparing for the April 24 runoff election, but turnout in Crenshaw County is expected to be low due to the lack of local races on the ballot.

Republicans Chip Brown and Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh are running for Public Service Commission President, and that will be the only race on Crenshaw County’s ballot.

“Some 20 of 67 counties only have the Public Service Commission runoff on the ballot,” said Crenshaw County Probate Judge Jim Perdue.

Perdue estimates that the election will cost between $15,000 and $20,000 for the county because state law requires the polls to be operated as they usually are.

“We have to open every polling place, provide all the possible ballots needed, and the law requires four workers at every precinct,” Perdue said.

With 18 precincts in the county, that equals 72 poll workers.

Historically, voter turnout for such runoff elections has been low.

In 1996, there was one race on both the Democrat and Republic ballots, and only 1,000 voters turned out in Crenshaw County.

The turnout was even lower in June 2000 when there was a Republican runoff for Court of Civil Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals.

“Only 100 votes were cast,” Perdue said. “That doesn’t bode well for this election.”

If turnout approaches that low, the cost could reach $100 per vote cast.

However, there is a bright spot — most of the election costs will be reimbursed by the state since there are no local races on the ballot.

Voters are not limited by what party they voted for in the party primary in March, even though this is a Republican runoff.

“Our poll workers have no way to know how you voted in the last election,” Perdue said.

Despite the lack of local races, Perdue encouraged people to turn out and vote.

“I’m not trying to downplay anyone,” he said. “These candidates have put the time and money into this campaign.”