City cut election expense by using paper ballots

LACONIA — City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that the decision of City Clerk Mary Reynolds to use paper ballots counted by hand rather than voting machines will trim the cost of conducting the special election for the Executive Council in District 1 by 25 percent.

Prompted by the unforeseen passing of longtime executive councilor Ray Burton, the cost of the special election — both the primary election earlier this week and the general election scheduled for March 11 — was not included in the 2013-2014 budget adopted in June. He estimated the cost of a citywide is approximately $8,000, with the cost of printing the electronic ballots and programming the voting machines amounting to some $2,000.

Anticipating that relatively few ballots would be cast and could be counted by hand in a timely manner, Reynolds chose not to deploy the voting machines, which reduced the cost of this week's primary election by about $2,000. Myers said the same procedure will be followed in the general election, reducing election expenses of $16,000 to $12,000.