Balancing Election Costs in Hartford Connecticut

High elections cost estimates almost caused the Republican registrar in Hartford, Connecticut to cancel the town’s Republican presidential primary.

The city council had allocated $120,000 to the registrar’s office. Of that, slightly more than half was supposed to pay for the March Democratic town council race, and $54,000 was budgeted for the April Republican primary.

However, after the council election the initial estimate of how much the race cost was more than $90,000, which would have left little for the primary. But when the costs were actually tallied, the election ended up costing just under $65,000.

Hartford’s Democratic registrar, Olga Vazquez, said she reduced costs by cutting the number of ballot clerks, office temps, and people for the election setup crew.

"It was a challenge," Vazquez said. "I was caught between two hard places—satisfying the taxpayer and satisfying these candidates.”

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