Siskiyou County Clerk Colleen Setzer revealed at the Feb. 5 meeting of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors that the Jan. 8 special election for District 4 State Senator cost the county over $100,000 – a very large expense for a rural county already struggling with severe cutbacks to its budget and a weak economy. Setzer appeared before the board primarily to present the certified election results for the board’s acceptance, but the election’s high price tag ultimately dominated the board’s discussion. Setzer told the board, “This was a special election, so six months of work was actually consolidated down into one month.” She said her office faced a long list of challenges in addition to the shortened time frame, including heavy snow, holiday scheduling conflicts and widespread staff illness. “We did it. We did it well. And I’m glad that it’s over,” she added.
A summary of county expenditures for the election process presented by Setzer showed that $15,792 was spent on direct labor and benefits for regular staff and $73,361 was spent on election expenses such as poll worker pay, polling places, ballots, postage and travel expenses. In addition to the direct expenses, the county incurred $16,408 of indirect expense, bringing the grand total to $105,562. Setzer also told the board that she had to contract plows to clear snow from polling places that were hit particularly hard by storms just before the election.