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Cost Savings If Macomb Dumps Primary

Nov 1, 2013

The McDonough County clerk is asking the city to no longer hold a primary in February of odd-numbered years.

Macomb is the only community in the county that holds a February primary. All other municipal elections take place in April.

Information from Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes shows this year’s Macomb primary cost $7,695.60. The costs break down as follows:

Polling Places - $300

Election Support - $561.59

Election Judges - $2,760

Publications - $215

Election Supplies - $3,859.01

Those expenses are paid for entirely by the county, not the city.

Voter turnout was just 4.6%. It was higher during the city primary in 2011, which included a contest for mayor. The turnout then was 29.9% and the election cost the county $10,193.90.

The cost in 2009 was $12,843.74, when voter turnout was just 2%. The price is higher because paper ballots were printed.  DeJaynes said she has used touch screen technology for the past couple Macomb primaries to bring down the cost, but she doesn’t see where she can save any more money beyond that.

Gretchen DeJaynes
Credit Rich Egger

DeJaynes would like the city to change its charter so it aligns with state law, which calls for a primary only when four or more candidates are running for a single seat in a municipal election.

Voters would have to approve such a change through a referendum, and the city council’s General Government Committee voted 2-to-1 this week to recommend the issue go before voters. Thomas Koch and Don Wynn voted in favor, while Dave Dorsett was opposed.

The recommendation will now go to the city council, which has until December 30 to agree to put the referendum on the March ballot.  If the measure is approved in March, the change could be implemented in time for the 2015 municipal elections.