The state’s total cost for special elections has increased from $500,000 to $2.1 million, according to state budget staff. When a special election is needed, local election officials pick up the initial cost. After a verification process, the state is required to reimburse local supervisors of elections for the cost needed to conduct those elections. When the Department of State made its initial budget request in January, it thought $500,000 would be enough to cover the tab. It’s the same number requested in Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget. The House’s proposed budget has requested $2.1 million in already needed reimbursements, while the Senate wants $2.6 million for any potential future special elections.
“Since the governor’s recommendations came out, the state has received estimates from three localities as to what their cost is going to be,” said Skip Martin, staff director for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development.
Southwest Florida will have a special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, a Fort Myers Republican, who resigned in January after pleading guilty to cocaine charges.