The GAB reported today the May and June recall elections that targeted Gov. Scott Walker and four state Senate seats cost $13.5 million to put on with most of those costs picked up by local taxpayers.
The May primaries cost $6.3 million, including $2.3 million in poll worker wages and $1.7 million in staff salaries. The agency reported ballots cost $728,000, while programming cost $617,000.
The June general elections cost nearly $7.2 million, including $2.5 million for poll workers, $1.9 million in staff salaries, $984,000 for ballots and $617,000 for programming.
By comparison, the April spring election, which included Wisconsin's presidential primary, cost taxpayers $7.6 million, including $2.2 million for poll worker wages, $1.9 million in staff salaries, $957,000 for ballots and $771,000 for programming.
“Instead of conducting two primaries and two elections this year, Wisconsin election officials will be conducting six elections, which added approximately $13.5 million in unbudgeted costs,” GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said. “These unplanned elections also put significant stress on Wisconsin’s clerks, who have many other duties beyond elections.”
The Legislature asked the Government Accountability Board to collect information on how much it cost to put on the recall elections. Elections Division Administrator Nat Robinson cautioned local clerks have used different methods in figuring their costs and the totals had not been audited.
In addition to putting on the elections, it cost the GAB $663,000 to process the recall petitions and prepare for the elections. That was less than the $975,000 the agency originally estimated it would spend on the process.