The governor’s office might not be the only place affected by Wisconsin’s recall election. Local governments are facing a price tag of about $17 million for the related contests. Officials are scrambling to make up for five- and six-figure expenses that have not been figured into their 2012 budgets. In Northeastern Wisconsin’s largest county, for example, the clerk says she might not have enough manpower to keep up with the additional workload. “We’re buried. Just buried,” said Darlene Marcelle, Brown County clerk since 1996. “We’re going to need a temporary employee just to keep up with this.” Her staff estimates that it will spend almost $122,000 to conduct the May 8 recall primary, according to figures from the state Government Accountability Board. The June 5 general recall vote likely will double that cost. Outagamie County expects to spend about $132,000 per election. Seven smaller counties predict they’ll shell out a combined $140,000 on each contest.
Costs range from printing ballots and poll books, to paying staff and buying legal advertising. Additionally, clerks must acquire computer memory devices to store the results from each polling place. Brown County, for example, will need about 85 of those. In a handful of rural communities across the state, clerks are budgeting for rental of portable toilets to accommodate poll workers.