There were 1,410 votes cast, after the tabulation of absentee and provisional ballots was finalized, and the expense to the county was about $16,000.
There were 29,850 registered voters in the county as of the May primary.
County Elections Director Connie Kelly said the bulk of the money went to pay poll workers - about $8,000 - while the paper ballots themselves ran the county $3,500. Another $2,000 went to programming voting equipment, about $1,200 went to hiring part-time help at the elections office, $700 went to facilities rentals and another about $300 paid for travel and supplies for elections officials on Tuesday.
“You also have to consider that we probably had a little higher turnout than some other counties in the state, because we had two run-off elections (for the Republican nomination to the 8th District U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate), while many counties in the state only had the Senate run-off,” Kelly said.
State Election Board Executive Director Gary Bartlett estimated run-off elections cost counties somewhere between $3.5 million and $5 million, in an interview with the Associated Press.
The AP also reported about 4.5 percent of the eligible voters statewide showed up to cast a ballot, which led some to question if the run-off system has become more of a burden than it is worth.
“Fifty years ago, when North Carolina was a one-party state, nearly as many people would vote in a statewide Democratic run-off as the first race, because their votes likely would choose the eventual winner of the general election,” the AP article reads. “Today, in a competitive two-party state, turnout at the local firehouse on the day of the run-off may not be much more than the poll workers themselves.”
May’s first primary brought voters out en masse in Richmond County, primarily driven by the opportunity to cast a ballot for sheriff and district attorney.
More than a third of the county’s registered voters showed up for the first primary - about a tenth of those showed interest in the second primary last week.
North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Todd McGee also told the AP counties want the General Assembly to eliminate the run-off elections due to the expense they incur.
In other election news:
Noon Friday is the deadline to file a Notice of Candidacy for Soil and Water District Supervisor in Richmond County.
There are two seats up for grabs in the November election.
The Richmond County Board of Elections will be open all day Friday, despite other county offices being closed for a furlough day, to accommodate the filing period for the Soil and Water District Supervisor.
The county election office will take its furlough day on July 6 instead and will be closed on July 5 for the holiday.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at email@example.com.