Hamilton County primary elections costing taxpayers thousands
May 1 is Primary Election Day in Hamilton County.
May 1 is Primary Election Day in Hamilton County. Not only does organizing an election involve lots of time, but it also costs thousands of dollars.
Hamilton County Election Commissioner Chris Clem says he's disappointed that the local primaries do not have higher voter turnout. Clem says the money used to put together an election comes from every taxpayer.
Every two years Hamilton County holds a local primary to elect leaders.
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Chris Clem, one of five election commissioners, says he's disappointed that the May primaries bring out only 10 percent of voters.
One of Clems’ jobs is to organize each election in Hamilton County.
“They can run upwards of $100,000 to run an election so that's rather 10% of the people that show up or 25%,” said Clem. “We've already paid for the employees, we've already paid for the ballot so you might as well use them.”
Clem says everyone who lives in Hamilton County helps to fund these elections one way or another.
“You are paying for this election. You're going to pay for it with your property taxes, with yourself and with your sales tax,” said Clem.
Drew Daugherty is a taxpayer who will be casting his vote on Tuesday. He says a $100,000 sounds like a lot but what is really alarming is the lack of voters.
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“That sounds really bad but at the same time most people don't know why or who they're voting for. If we had a large, informed election, I'd say it's bad but I say 10% is about right,” said Drew Daugherty, taxpayer.
James Gates is visiting his daughter who lives in Hamilton County. He's not surprised to hear the cost for putting together an election but he wants to make sure his daughter's tax dollars are going as far as they can.
“Look at that from a perspective of comparing it to other communities besides Chattanooga to see if that number is actually valid. That's how I as a taxpayer would want to validate it,” said Gates.
A complete list of polling locations in the county can be found by clicking here.
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