Madison County: Villages have choice in using Board of Elections services

Madison County's elections commissioners want to bill municipalities for their elections costs. The move has been researched for the better part of 2006, and Tony Wilmarth with the county attorney's office told commissioners there are no laws on the books prohibiting the move, according to Republican Commissioner Lynne Jones.

The county's Board of Elections manages the elections for eight of Madison County's 10 villages and all of the towns. When new voting machines are purchased and put into service in the coming year, there will be more work required of elections staff in transporting and programming machines, Jones told members of the Madison County Board of Supervisors' administration and oversight committee Oct. 9.

Democratic Commissioner Laura Costello said that additional cost may lead the remaining two villages to turn their elections over to the agency, as well.

Jones said she and Costello want to charge elections' costs back to villages so all county taxpayers aren't footing the bill for village elections. She said the decision needs to be made early enough to allow villages to plan for the expense.

"We need to let them know to give them time to change their budgets, which begin June 1," Jones said.

Right now, the Board of Elections pays inspectors, custodians and party representatives to staff elections; conducts preliminary and official tabulations of results and places legal notices in local publications regarding elections information.

"[The cost of] legal notices can be charged back, as well," Jones said.

Jones said elections in the smaller villages currently cost between $500 and $800.

"All villages used to run their own elections," Costello said.

State law requires the county Board of Elections to take over those village elections at any time they are requested to do so.

"And they can take them back any time they wish," Costello said. "It's done by resolution."

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