If you love to vote, 2012 is your year. Four major elections will take place in New York this year, starting with Tuesday’s presidential primary. Primaries for U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives follow June 26, and primaries for state and local offices come Sept. 11. The general election caps off the season Nov. 6. “I guess you really get to be a part of the process this year,” Rockland County Republican Election Commissioner Louis Babcock said. The abundance of elections has raised several concerns, including the cost of holding so many and whether voters will keep turning out. “It’s costly and it’s taxing on the voters to come out that many times,” Westchester County Republican Election Commissioner Doug Colety said.
Political observers said there was likely always going to be three elections this year, but many hoped the congressional and state and local primaries would be combined. The state Board of Elections estimates it costs slightly less than $50 million to conduct a general election statewide, spokesman John Conklin said. An individual primary is estimated to cost half to three-quarters of that amount, he said. Taxpayers in the Lower Hudson Valley will feel the pinch. Babcock said it will cost Rockland about $300,000 for the third primary; Colety estimated the cost at $1 million; and Putnam County GOP Elections Chief Anthony Scannapieco Jr. put the tab at $132,000.
“Nobody’s got the money,” Babcock said. “It’s a shame they let this go.” All three commissioners said some election districts would be consolidated for the primaries to reduce the number of poll workers and machines needed at each site and trim costs.