Massachusetts towns and cities spent thousands of dollars to prep voting machines, staff polling locations and notify voters of any big changes in their election routines for last week’s presidential primary. While municiple clerks expected relatively few voters to show up, that makes little difference in terms of cost for an election. Clerks typically organize for a busy day, just in case a crowd shows up ready to exercise its civic duty. “There’s a certain base amount of work that has to be done before any election,” said Donna Hooper, president of the Massachusetts Town Clerks Association, who is also the town clerk for Lexington. “You have to prepare and be ready for a full turnout.”
One factor that has brought about changes in election costs is the alteration of voting districts. For Fall River’s election department, a recent redistricting resulted in the elimination of three precincts. That means 166 poll workers and wardens instead of the 184 that were used previously, all paid at a rate of $10 an hour, said Elizabeth Camara, Acting Chair of the Fall River Board of Elections.