With less than three weeks until South Carolina’s GOP presidential preference primary, state elections officials say they lack the cash to pay for it. But they say they are not letting that deficit prevent them from preparing for the vote.
The cost of ballots, poll workers, data processing and other expenses related to the Jan. 21 Republican primary is expected to total about $1.5 million, state election commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said Tuesday.
But the commission currently has only about $1 million earmarked to cover these costs, Whitmire said. That amount includes more than $800,000 set aside by the South Carolina legislature and $180,000 in filing fees from the nine GOP candidates whose names will appear on the ballot.
Where will the rest of the money come from? “We don’t know at this point,” Whitmire acknowledged.
One thing is certain — it won’t be coming from Comedy Central host Steven Colbert, who had pledged $400,000 if the state GOP would name the primary “The Colbert Super PAC South Carolina Republican Primary.” He also wanted a non-binding referendum for the people of South Carolina to decide if corporations are people. His offer was turned down.
Election officials are hoping that a state budget panel or South Carolina legislators will solve the cash crunch before bills from the primary start stacking up later this month. But in the meantime, they say, the critically important “First in the South” primary must go on.