St. Lucie elections supervisor seeks almost $300,000 for unexpected costs

Supervisor of Elections asks county for more money

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. - It was a Presidential Election gone wrong in St. Lucie County, two months later, the county's election chief is asking county leaders for her budget to go up.

Tuesday night, Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker requested county commissioners approve an additional $299,674.83 for "unanticipated additional costs" from the general election in November.

"It was a really difficult election," said Walker a day earlier when she spoke with NewsChannel 5.  "My staff and I worked really hard."

"At the end of every budget cycle you're going to have costs that were either anticipated or unanticipated for a department," explained commission chairman Tod Mowery.

For the county's election office, 2012 proved to be the year of the unexpected.

An unprecedented 2 page ballot, the Allen West- Patrick Murphy recount and the lawsuits that followed.  It all contributed.

"The Supervisor of Elections had never dealt with a 2 page ballot, even the stamps were higher. They needed extra staff, there were so many things so you can see where a significant chunk of that was directly tied to changes the state put in," said Mowery.

But perhaps what might have been foreseen was the $90,000 needed for an electronic voter ID system & $30,000 in reporting software. 

The costly equipment was necessary says Mowery, but why Walker waited until the end of the year to ask for the money to pay for it is unknown.

"Love the question, we want to ask the same things and ask from a planning standpoint, you're planning for an election cycle what types of equipment do you need? What kind of staffing do you prepare for?"



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