The 2011 general election cost Hamilton County residents $86,503.47. The county paid $10,117.50 for its portion of elections costs but the rest of the tab was passed along to municipalities. Here is the cost breakdown for those areas that held elections:
Fishers – $27,825.78
Noblesville – $27,111.25
Westfield – $14,812
Sheridan Town – $2,840
Sheridan Schools – $1,420
Arcadia – $1,397.38
Atlanta – $979.56
City gets $14k election bill
By Robert Herrington
The right to vote for mayor and city council District 3 representative will cost Westfield taxpayers $14,812.
“Only in municipal elections do they have to pay this,” Hamilton County Elections Administrator Kathy Richardson said.
Richardson said direct costs for municipalities having an election include poll workers, janitors, supply kits, rent, meals, rent, postage for absentee ballots and poll lists – essentially anything that can be directly assessed to them.
“Everything else is pulled together and pro-rated,” she said.
Items grouped together and pro-rated include fees for ballot counters, machine setup, MicroVote usage, legal advertising, election board and canvas board. Richardson said the county pays a fourth of the bill and the remaining three-fourths are divided amongst the municipalities. Richardson said many believe it should be based on population, but in actuality the cost is based on voting percentage.
“Fishers has more people but if it has less of a turnout than Noblesville, Noblesville picks up a larger chunk,” she explained.
This year, Hamilton County saw 17,280 of 108,997 registered voters (15.9 percent) participate in Noblesville, Fishers, Westfield, Sheridan, Atlanta and Arcadia. In 2007, the general election had 20 percent voter turnout. Westfield had 4,153 ballots (21.7 percent) – up from 7 percent in the 2007 general election. During presidential elections, Richardson said the turnout typically reaches 70 to 80 percent.
“It is always a smaller turnout. It does pick up in the general and there was quite a bit of publicity on local races,” said Richardson. “It concerns me it is such a low turnout. I wish I knew the ways to make people go to the polls … a local mayor or council can affect your daily life more than a president can.”
Since Cicero and Carmel did not hold an election in November the areas saved money. Richardson said Carmel had 50 percent of the total county turnout in May’s primary election and thus paid 50 percent of the remaining amount – approximately $56,640. Other costs passed onto Hamilton County townships from this year’s primary election were: Fishers, $32,519; Noblesville, $25,470; Westfield, $16,429; and Sheridan, $3,021.