You Ask, Patch Answers: Cost to Somerville of Upcoming Special Election

With a primary on April 30 and a final election on June 25, Somerville gets ready for a special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by John Kerry.

With a special election scheduled this spring to fill the Senate seat formerly occupied by Secretary of State John Kerry, local election departments across the state are scrambling to organize.

Some have asked how much the special election will cost Somerville.

I asked Jackie Rossetti, a city spokesperson, who forwarded some email questions to the Somerville election department about the matter.

The election department said special elections cost the city about $65,000 a day. So, with a primary scheduled for April 30 and the state election scheduled for June 25, this year's special election will cost Somerville about $130,000. That money pays for things like staffing the polls, police details, supplies, programming computers and advertising, the election department said.

The election department said it's busy mobilizing poll workers, registering new voters, double-checking the voter list, certifying nomination papers, preparing polling locations and coding "Memory Paks" for voting machines, among other things.

The election department also said it's difficult to predict turnout for the upcoming special election, but there was record voter turnout for the 2012 regular election, so the department is hoping for high numbers.

In 2009 and 2010, when Scott Brown and Martha Coakley vied for the Senate seat long held by Ted Kennedy, who died in 2009, 11,982 Somerville residents voted in the primary, held on Dec. 8, 2009, and 22,796 voted in the final election, held on Jan. 19, 2010, according to the election department.

Based on registration numbers from Sept. 2010, that represents a voter turnout of about 28 percent in the primary and 54 percent in the final election.

Jason February 26, 2013 at 02:56 AM
A cheap price for democracy...


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