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2016 General Election Cost Clarion County Nearly $95,000

Sunday, July 16, 2017 @ 02:07 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

voting-boothCLARION CO., Pa. (EYT) – There’s no doubt that the 2016 general election was one of the most costly elections ever held in this country, but how much did it cost Clarion County?

A report compiled by Clarion County Elections Director Cindy Callihan for an official Commonwealth study shows that the whole process of enabling the election from poll workers to voting machines to staff and overtime cost Clarion County $94,979.67 in 2016.

While the costs were standard for each precinct, a breakdown on the price per vote cast (taking the total votes cast and dividing them by the number of votes) shows some hefty prices – ranging from $70.66 per vote cast in Brady Township to $2.17 in Clarion Borough. 

A complete spreadsheet is included below with this article.

While that figure pales in comparison with the more than $300 million spent by candidates who ultimately lost in the primaries, and billions spent by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the road to the White House, according to the November 8, 2016 issue of Money Magazine, it is still considered significant for a small county in Pennsylvania.

A record number of registered voters in Clarion turned out to vote last November with an average turnout of 74 percent, with most of the municipalities reporting turnout rates between 70 and 83 percent.

Most of the costs per precinct were estimated at flat rates, such as Voting Equipment ($375), Cost of Ballot Printing ($17.53), Cost of Logic and Accuracy Testing Support ($238), Advertising ($46.10), County Salary Cost ($791.59), Overtime ($74.25), Total Poll Worker Costs ($536), Rent ($40), All Other Costs ($142.85), Total Cost (2,261.42), and Number of Poll Workers (5).

The November 8, 2016 issue of CBS Money Watch also said Americans running for federal elective offices spent more than ever in that pursuit – about $6.8 billion.  Money was flooding in for one of the nastiest presidential elections in recent memory. As a frame of reference, that’s “more than what consumers spend on cereal ($6 billion), pet grooming ($5.4 billion) and legal marijuana ($5.4 billion).”

That’s a lot of money by anyone’s standards, but the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics estimated spending on the Clinton-Trump contest at more than $2.65 billion and actually was down a bit from $2.76 billion in 2012 when Democratic incumbent Barack Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Click here for PDF copy (larger format)

Cost Analysis

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