The High Price of Uncontested Elections

The High Price of Uncontested Elections

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Local and state laws can result in costly uncontested elections for jurisdictions. For example:

  • A recent election in Huntsville, TX, for three uncontested school district trusteeships was required under state law at a projected cost of $13,000.
  • State law required the town of Bernalillo, NM, to hold an uncontested March 2012 election for two Town Council members and one judge. It cost the town, which has a population of roughly 8,000, approximately $10,000.
  • An uncontested March 2013 election—required by local law—for a seat on the Board of Aldermen in Carrboro, NC, cost the town $11,000. Only 263 of Carrboro’s 15,647 registered voters cast ballots, a cost per vote of nearly $42.
  • In August 2013, state law required Chelan County, WA, to hold a primary in which the only countywide race was uncontested. The cost was around $100,000. Washington conducts all elections by mail, and a ballot was mailed to each of the 40,151 registered voters in Chelan County. Three of its 85 precincts voted on propositions in the election, and the other 82 had only the uncontested race on the ballot. Of the county’s registered voters, 16 percent, or 6,532 people, cast a vote in that race.

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