State Estimators Weigh Fiscal Impact Of 'All Voters Vote' Ballot Proposal

Aug 1, 2019

A ballot initiative that has the potential to be on the 2020 ballot wants to allow any registered voter to cast a vote in primary elections. State estimators are working to ballpark the cost of doing so.

As the Financial Estimating Impact Conference mulls the potential cost of letting all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, vote in primaries — they heard from some expert guests Thursday.

The ‘All Voters Vote’ initiative would apply to elections for state legislature, governor and cabinet. Its sponsors, and a representative from the Florida Division of Elections predicts there would be no fiscal impact to the state. But Okaloosa County Elections Supervisor Paul Lux, says the cost would be felt at the local level.

"Indeed, you’re talking about – for my county with 140,000 registered voters, you’re talking about approximately $50,000 dollars per election," Lux told members of the Conference. 

The extra expense would come from adding length or an extra page to ballots. Okaloosa uses a 14-inch ballot, but Lux says some less populous counties use ballots as small as 11 inches. He says adding length to that – going as long as a 17-inch ballot – could leave cash-strapped counties at a disadvantage.

"Now you’re talking about small counties whose budgets are not huge, whose tax base is already maxed out because they’re already at their millage cap," Lux added.

Thursday’s was one of three meetings the Conference will hold on the topic.

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