Summit County Council is expected to vote Monday on a $1.4-million appropriation for the Summit County Board of Elections. If approved, it would hike the board's budget to $6.1 million, much closer to what Director Joe Masich says they need.
"I would feel more comfortable with my request of $6.48 million and a $300,000 contingency," said Masich. "We're going to do what we can do and we're going to monitor it very closely."
The board spent $7.1 million in 2008, the last presidential election year. Since then, Summit County Council has been forced to slash budgets across the board. The elections board originally asked for $9.3 million for 2012. That request was met with a counter offer of $4.7 million. The two sides have been haggling over money ever since. What changed?
"We've provided them with some pretty good detail as to why we need the additional funds as far as man hours and postage costs and things, we've provided them with great detail," said Masich.
Masich says a big election turnout means they need plenty of people on the clock a few weeks in advance, plus other expenses. Secretary of State Jon Husted is telling county boards of elections to plan on half of the number of people who participated in the 2008 election to vote by mail in the upcoming election. In Summit County, that means 140,000 people would be requesting ballots and returning them through the mail. Elections officials say that takes human eyes to process each request by verifying voter registration and making sure all paperwork is correctly completed.