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Mendick: Towns paying for city elections

Albany County Legislator Richard Mendick doesn't want to tell you who to vote for he just wants to change the way elections are run.

Mendick introduced a new piece of legislation Monday, May 12, to have the costs of elections fall on the proper municipality or city they're held in.

My issue is really one of methodology," said Mendick, C-R-Bethlehem, whose bill would allocate the expense of an election between the suburban municipalities and cities in a more fair fashion than Mendick said is currently being practiced.

According to a chart of 2006 figures Mendick supplied to Spotlight Newspapers, the actual election costs for Colonie were $110,335, whereas the charge-backs from Albany County made the total for Colonie $214,533. In essence, Colonie lost about $104,198.

Peter Gannon, director of operations for the Town of Colonie, said that the town supports Mendick's initiative for election cost reform, but that the town would have to "wait and see" if it will work.

"We've looked at the proposal and there is certainly some merit to the proposal," said Gannon. "We're interested in looking at more equitable solutions, but the answer might not necessarily rely on the cost shift."

Commissioner of the Albany County Board of Elections, Matthew Clyne, said that the election process overall has become increasingly more expensive since the federal government mandated use of electric voting machines in 2002 as part of the Help America Vote Act.

While the county does not yet have all the electric machines it was supposed to have by 2006, said Clyne, the cost of an election with the old lever machines was about $3.50 for the entire day, whereas with the new, electric machines the cost is around $.50 per vote.

"We're anticipating [upcoming election costs] based on a number of polling sites," said Clyne, "Which is a little different, because of the ability of the electronic machines."

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