Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew is expecting about $32,500 in new costs for running elections next year, largely due to the state’s new voter identification laws. “I did build in some requests for anticipated costs for implementation of the new law,” Shew said. “I added additional temp employees who will be responsible for following up with voters to get documentation, additional printing for additional notices and mailings, and more postage, anticipating a large increase in mailings to voters.” Election officials are preparing for a busy 2014, when there will be races for governor and other statewide elected offices, as well as a U.S. Senate race, congressional races, and elections for the Kansas House of Representatives. The draft budget that county commissioners approved for publication last week includes about $350,000 for the clerk’s office in 2014. That’s an increase of $32,735, or about 10 percent, over the clerk’s budget in 2010, the most recent comparable election year. Most of that increase, Shew said, is related to the cost of implementing the new voter identification rule.
“I budgeted for what I felt was worst case scenario,” Shew said. “If we were assisting thousands of voters with documents, I will need staff to take on that burden beyond what the staff is currently doing at that time.”
Shew also doubled ballot costs, anticipating that the the legislature will pass a bill putting local elections into the fall of even-numbered years, which would result in multiple-page ballots, he said.
In 2011, Kansas enacted a new law that requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls. And starting this year, the law requires people signing up to vote for the first time to show proof of U.S. citizenship in order to register.