Will Save Millions In State and Local Elections Costs
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) to return the date of the presidential primary election to June, saving millions of dollars in elections-related costs, has been signed into law.
The law (S-2883/A-3777) eliminates the separate presidential primary election held in February and requires, instead, that it be held during the regular June primary election, as it was prior to 2005. The move will save approximately $12 million in FY 2012.
“New Jersey moved its presidential primary to February with the intent of giving the state a larger role in determining the outcome of the nomination process. However, when half the states in the country also held earlier primaries, the move was essentially rendered moot. We ended up spending millions of dollars to hold a separate election, without achieving the Election Day advantage everyone had anticipated,” said Senator Norcross. “Returning the election to the traditional June primary date will create nearly $12 million in taxpayer savings and provide us with the same level of influence we’ve had in the past.”
In 2005, state law was changed to establish a separate presidential primary election in February, so that New Jersey could play a larger role in determining the outcome of the nomination process. Despite the move, New Jersey was ultimately among 25 states that held their primaries in February during the 2008 presidential election. The cost of the separate election was $11.8 million.
Moving the presidential primary to June will result in elections-related cost savings in primarily two areas: the expenses of the counties and municipalities which administer the election and the salaries of poll workers conducting the election. Specifically, reductions will be realized in the costs for ballot printing and postage, processing, legal advertising, polling place rental and voting machine delivery. The cost of poll workers’ salaries – which are divided between the counties and the state, with the counties paying $75 of each poll worker’s salary and the state paying $125 of each worker’s salary – will also be eliminated.
“Eliminating the separate presidential primary will save millions of dollars in elections-related costs, from printing and mailing ballots, to conducting the election and processing the results,” said Senator Norcross. “At the end of the day, this law will result in significant savings on both the state and local levels which will translate into tax relief for our residents. Put simply, this is a common-sense move for the state, and good news for the people of New Jersey.”
The bill was approved unanimously in both the Senate and the Assembly in June.