Secretary of State To Absorb Cost Of Primary Election Ballot Error
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said that prudent planning with her office’s budget will help pay for a ballot error in the 2012 primary election.
The error occurred on the Republican primary ballot, instructing voters to vote for no more than 18 for at-large delegate to the Republican National Convention even though 19 were to be elected. The error was detected in time to be corrected before the early voting period began on April 25, 2012.
The cost of the reprinting of the ballots is $148,705.20. More operational costs incurred by the counties including overtime costs, payment for ballot commissioners, and express mail for absentee ballots to absentee military and overseas voters, may still be added. The Secretary of State’s Office will reimburse counties for those costs as well. The Secretary of State’s Office is also expecting a bill from Elections Systems and Software (ES&S) for recoding and reprogramming for about $64,000.
Secretary Tennant said Monday her office will use reclassified funds that were originally intended to be used to pay additional Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) liabilities to pay for the reprinting and reprogramming.
“The Secretary of State’s Office was one of a few agencies in West Virginia that budgeted to pay our OPEB obligations,” Secretary Tennant said. “It was determined that transfer would not occur and those funds were reclassified. We will use those funds to help pay for the reprinting and reprogramming. We are now working closely with the counties to make sure they let us know about their operational costs.”
Secretary Tennant also commended and thanked county clerks, ballot commissioners, ballot printers Casto and Harris, and programmers ES&S for their hard work in administering a successful primary election despite the voter instruction error.
Secretary Tennant said she has always looked for ways to save money in the Secretary of State’s Office, from developing IT projects in-house rather than paying a contractor to utilizing less expensive mailing options to contact tens of thousands of business owners around the state. She also said since taking office in 2009 she has cut the budget of the Secretary of State’s Office, which has the smallest budget of any constitutional office, by 10%.