City pays $11,886 for Nov. election
Published 8:22 pm Friday, December 20, 2013
The election in November saw one of the worst voter turnouts election and poll officials saw in years. The Bainbridge City Council officially received the invoice for the cost of the election from the Decatur County Board of Elections at the beginning of December and approved the bill.
The invoice shows the election, which had one council race with opposition, cost the city $11,886.97.
Labor costs for poll workers that worked early voting dates, election day, attended training and worked with absentee ballots totaled to $8,970.50 — roughly 75 percent of the total cost.
In the only race with opposition — Alderman Post 2 District A — incumbent Joe Sweet won against opponent Richard A. Mosley II with 85.59 percent of the votes.
Sweet had a total of 95 votes, while Mosley had a total of 16.
Voter turnout shows that 2.92 percent of those that were registered in the districts holding races voted back in November.
“This is the price of democracy,” Dr. Raymond L. Chambers, current chairman of the board of elections and registration for Decatur County said in response to the cost of the small election. “If you want to have a role in choosing those decision makers you have for you then you have to be prepared to pay a price of some sort.”
Chambers, who teaches government classes at Bainbridge State College, said the process would cost less per vote if there were greater turnouts and more were civically engaged in the voting process.
“It would obviously cost a whole lot less [per vote] if more people paid attention to what’s going on in their community and how they get things done,” Chambers said. “They should ask candidates ‘why do you want to be a candidate? Why do you want to be in this office? Why should we elect you?’”
Chambers said he attributes low turnout to the fact that the election was an off year, meaning there was no midterm election or presidential election involved. Generally, he said, smaller local elections see lower numbers.
He also said there is a problem in general with lack of participation in the democratic process.
There were 174 votes cast in the local November election. With a total cost of $11,886.97, the cost per vote is more than $68 per vote.