County Board Of Elections Receives High Marks From State

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Election Board ranks among the best in New York state for low cost of election delivery.

According to figures released by New York state Board of Elections recently, the Chautauqua County Board of Elections 2012 budget averaged $10.24 per voter.

Chautauqua County ranks 23rd out of 62 in the state for the number of registered voters. Additionally, it is the 23rd largest county in New York. However, Chautauqua County’s average cost per voter registered is the 10th lowest in the state.

“We attribute the low cost of running elections in our county to our in-house printing of ballots,” said Brian Abram, Republican election commissioner. “We are one of just six counties in the state to print ballots. The remaining counties use one of two commercial printers based in Albany and Rochester. Last year, the commercial printers were charging $.57 per ballot, versus our local cost of $.15 per ballot.”

According to Norman Green, Democratic election commissioner, the county saves tax money by delivering and picking up all voting machines and supplies.

“We also handle voting machine programming without seasonal help used by most other counties,” Green added.

Both commissioners also praised the election staff for why the county is able to deliver services for so little money.

“Our people do it all, from desk work, registering voters to programming voting machines and pushing voting machines up ramps for delivery,” Abram said.

“The county taxpayers are the beneficiary of our cost-conscious mentality for running elections, compared with the high cost for election service in other counties of the state,” Green added. “Villages and schools in the county also win big, as we are able to provide elections for less than what they paid previously for mechanical lever voting.”

County Executive Greg Edwards said the designation is a significant one.

“Norm Green and Brian Abram have accepted the significant challenges that have been placed upon local election districts to deliver new technology and even more involvement in the local election process,” Edwards said. “They’ve done it in a way that is absolutely one of the most cost effective in the entire state.”

Edwards said the commissioners have been aggressive in finding the ways and means to print their own ballots, while other counties in New York are utilizing commercial printers. Additionally, he acknowledged the team of county workers who have supported the commissioners’ efforts.

“They really have been creative and effective,” Edwards said. “That’s why they are ranked so high. They are innovators at cutting costs.”