Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant’s Office trimmed more than $36,000 from the final cost of the special United States Senate primary held in August, after reviewing and approving reimbursement reports from all 55 counties.
The law passed during a special legislative session in July said counties would pay for the unprecedented special primary, report the costs related to the special election to the Secretary of State for review, and then be reimbursed by the state.
More than half of West Virginia’s counties have already received reimbursement.
The total amount that will be reimbursed to the counties will be about $3,081,401. The total cost submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office was about $3,117,436.
Click here to see the reimbursement amount for each county.
The legislature authorized $3 million to pay for the special primary election. Some estimates put the cost at as much as twice that amount.
“We tightened the belt and acted as good gatekeepers with taxpayer money,” Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said. “The elections division, our finance division, and I went through these reports line by line. The state only reimbursed counties for expenses directly related to the administration of the special election. And I’m proud of the counties for submitting these reports. It wasn’t easy work and they all did a great job.”
The law passed during the special session provided for more money to be allocated if the cost of the special election was more than $3 million.
“I wanted to keep it as close to $3 million as possible. And we ended up just going a little bit over. But considering people were saying the special election was going to be twice this expensive, I’m happy that we kept the cost under control,” Tennant said.
In general, items that were trimmed from the final cost of the special election include less mileage reimbursement, repair of election equipment that would have been performed even if there had not been a special election, and other election equipment that will be used again in the future.
Kanawha County, which has the most registered voters in the state at 130,000, received the largest reimbursement in the amount of $341,628.60.
Wirt County, which has just 4,390 registered voters, received the smallest reimbursement amount of $13,221.30.
About half the cost of the special election - $1,556,208 - went to paying poll workers. Counties spent about $727,766 on ballots.