Election Day is more than a year away, but Zachary Klutz is already bracing for the worst. Klutz, a Republican member of the Allen County, Ind. elections board, is fighting budget cuts he says would result in an ugly day at the polls: more mistakes by election workers, longer lines for voters, and lots of frustrated, angry people. That’s because next year — a presidential election year — the county is set to allocate to the elections department 18 percent less than what it gets this year.
To Klutz, the plans are perplexing, since turnout in the 2012 presidential election is expected to be almost 90 percent higher than that of this year’s municipal election, in which the biggest race on the ballot is for mayor of Fort Wayne. “We can’t conduct a full election like that,” says Klutz. “I don’t know what to do.”
For now, the office is pleading with the county to provide $90,000 more than what’s already been allocated, even though that’s still well-below what the office says it needs to run the 2012 election. With those extra funds, election officials would still use 200 fewer machines and 240 fewer poll workers than what they say is really needed. “I’m all for cutting government spending,” says Klutz. “But there has to be a responsible balance between cutting government spending and conducting duties that are necessary in a democratic society.”