Clark County election expenses rise due to turnout

The Nov. 3 general election cost Clark County a bit more than anticipated, largely the result of a surge in voter turnout. 

Included in the county’s most recent supplemental budget is an additional $100,000 in expenses for the Elections Office. The Presidential election saw a turnout of 85.14 percent up from 77.25 percent in November 2016 — of 325,355 registered voters — up from 272,832.

“There was an unprecedented turnout in elections this year,” County Finance Director Mark Gassaway told the Clark County Council on Tuesday. “The elections team did a very good job of planning for it. However, it was just a little bit short of what the expenses will come in as.” 

In 2016, the November election cost about twice as much as the Presidential primary that year.

The county earmarked $500,000 specifically for the Nov. 3 general election when the 2020 budget was adopted late last year. That included $200,000 for services, $100,000 for overtime costs and $200,000 for supplies. 

In October, the county Council also approved using $55,000 in federal CARES Act funding for ten additional, more secure, ballot drop boxes. 

The purchase was necessary because most of the “election-day only” drop boxes the county uses are placed inside schools, which were off limits due to state guidelines to curb COVID-19, according to county budget reports. 

Jack Heffernan

Jack Heffernan

Jack Heffernan is a breaking news reporter and covers Clark County government for The Columbian.

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