State election officials anticipate they will need an extra $650,000 next year for a new wave of recall efforts that will require them to review petitions with perhaps 1.5 million signatures. Those costs would go toward hiring 50 temporary workers, renting office space to house them and the petitions, and running advertisements about the state’s new requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls.
The preliminary estimates from the state Government Accountability Board do not include the recall costs for local officials, which are expected to be much higher than those for the state if enough signatures are gathered to hold elections. The board is still developing estimates for what the costs would be for local officials. Recall elections this year for nine state senators cost state and local taxpayers $2.1 million, according to the board.
The board filed its expected costs with the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on Thursday, two days after Democrats filed paperwork to try to recall Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state senators. The board’s estimates presume efforts will be launched to try to recall two other state senators.
In a letter to the lawmakers who head the finance committee, the board’s director, Kevin Kennedy, said he was not yet seeking additional money but wanted to alert them of the likely costs. In all, he is expecting his board would need an additional $652,699. Of that, about $252,000 would go toward personnel, including hiring the 50 temporary workers for eight weeks; another $250,000 would go toward running statewide television and radio ads about the voter ID law; and about $25,000 would go toward renting 4,400 square feet of office space for three months. The rest would go toward equipment, litigation materials and other expenses.