We’re less than a month from the recall primary. The general election will be in June. The local costs for the election are adding up. Election officials say figuring out turnout for the recall election is a lot like taking a shot in the dark. “I’m just trying to think of is it going to be like a normal partisan primary or is it going to be like an April election, or is it going to be higher turnout than that, so we’re trying to get our head around what exactly a good guess would be because we do have to order the ballots now,” says Eau Claire County clerk Janet Loomis. That turnout drives the cost of those elections. “I’m thinking around 25 percent for the primary, maybe 40 or better for the June,” Loomis says. Eau Claire County is expected to spend an extra $20,000 just to print the ballots for the recalls.
“When it’s a county above race, the cost of the ballots, or the publications are up to the county, but the municipalities still have to take in the cost of their poll workers,” says Loomis. And that unexpected cost can add up, especially for the city of Eau Claire. The city will need around 350 workers for the primary in May, and another 400 for the actual election in June.
“At the time we were deliberating and creating our 2012 budget, the recall petitions had not been circulated, the drumbeat of that movement hadn’t even begun, so we couldn’t see into the future,” says Eau Claire City Council President Kerry Kincaid. The city will be taking the money from their contingency fund.