Johnson County elections got more expensive this year

Johnson County election funding

The Johnson County Election Office is asking for roughly $678,000 in extra funding to cover the increased cost of administering elections this year. Why it matters: The request for more funds,

The Johnson County Election Office is asking for roughly $678,000 in extra funding to cover the increased cost of administering elections this year.

Why it matters: The request for more funds, which will come before the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners this week, is a result in large part of a spike in administrative costs from August’s record-setting primary election.

State of play: A major factor driving the increased costs include a jump in voter registrations leading into the August primary.

  • Election officials also cite an uptick in advance voter turnout and an accompanying need to bring on more election workers to deal with the crush. 
  • The extra money, if approved, would come from the county’s reserve funds.
Johnson County election funding
Above, poll workers check in voters during last week’s general election. File photo.

You may remember: Turnout for the Aug. 2 primary, which included a much-discussed abortion constitutional amendment, topped 56% in Johnson County, unusually high for an off-year primary.

As a result: The county election office hired an additional 100 election workers for the primary, upping the overall total from 1,700 to 1,800 poll workers on Election Day.

  • The county also brought on 300 more workers to work during the advanced voting period, which also saw the addition of eight new advance voting sites.

One other thing: In their request to the county commission, election officials also cite the added printing costs of the general election ballot, which ran to 19 inches, as another factor in rising costs this year.

Bigger picture for Johnson County elections

  • The request for added funding comes as the Johnson County Board of County Canvassers, which is also the county commission, prepares to certify the results of the Nov. 8 general election.
  • That election actually saw an overall decrease in voter turnout compared to previous midterm elections.
  • The number of Johnson Countians opting for advance voting has also continued to steadily increase, with early voting numbers for the primary election surpassing turnout for both advance and Election Day votes in 2018’s primary election.