The two candidates for Bergen County clerk sparred Tuesday over how much the county spends to print ballots. Democratic challenger John Hogan of Northvale contends the clerk’s office could trim about $200,000 from its printing bill by putting the work, which cost $2.4 million last year, up for a competitive bid.
GOP incumbent Elizabeth Randall of Westwood countered that election-related printing is a specialized line of work that only a few New Jersey companies do. That’s why the state Legislature exempted such work from competitive bidding, Randall said.
The candidates clashed on the printing issue twice this week, first at a forum sponsored by the Korean-American community in Fort Lee on Monday and again at a forum hosted Tuesday by the Bergen County League of Women voters at Bergen County Community College in Paramus.
After the League debate, Hogan called Randall’s argument “ridiculous.”
“These are modern times,” Hogan said. “We don’t have the old print shops in the back room anymore.”
Randall, however, said there’s good reason for going with a specialist, given the tight deadlines, short turnaround times and need for accuracy in a ballot.
“This is not an ordinary print job, neither by way of skill or equipment,” Randall said. “It is specialized.”
Bergen County currently uses two firms to print ballots, Randall said, which also helps to hold down the cost.