Jefferson County commissioners Thursday agreed to appropriate more money to the county board of elections to cover increased expenses associated with the upcoming presidential election. Frank Bruzzese, board of elections board member, said presidential elections are always more expensive to conduct, especially this year when every voter will receive an application for an absentee ballot. The commissioners appropriated $605,000 to the board of elections, with the state contributing an additional $17,000 for mapping congressional districts. Bruzzese said the board of elections spent $746,000 four years ago during the presidential election. Commissioners agreed to appropriate an additional $102,000 to the board of elections, bringing the budget total to $722,000. Bruzzese said that should be enough to cover expenses associated with the general election in November.
The extra money comes from charge backs to villages, townships and cities for elections in 2011. The county auditor’s office takes the costs of odd year elections directly off the top of tax appropriations to villages, township and cities. Diane Gribble, county board of elections director, said the board is anticipating having to mail out about 18,000 absentee ballots at the end of September, more than double the amount in the 2008 presidential election.
The commissioners also agreed to take $37,000 out of the computer fund to pay for a maintenance agreement on electronic voting machines for next year. Commissioners also set up a budget line item for a $238,478 federal port security grant the county 911 system received for a communications and command vehicle that can be used in the event of a disaster and as a backup 911 system.