Manatee County special election far cost less than predicted

July 7, 2013 

Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Michael Bennett, standing at right, and Assistant Supervisor of Elections Scott Farrington, left, and Chief Deputy Sharon Stief look over election results as they work together to count special referendum votes on June 18. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

BRADENTON HERALD

Post-election results for the June 18, 2013, special referendum offer a fresh perspective for me as the new Manatee County supervisor of elections.

Contrary to speculation in various news articles and letters to the editor regarding the cost to conduct this election, the actual cost was substantially less than what was budgeted.

Scott Farrington, the assistant supervisor of elections, and our staff did an outstanding job of managing and processing this election in a most efficient manner. We will continue to explore ways to keep election costs under control, while ensuring convenience and access for the voters of Manatee County.

The continuing trend of increased absentee and early voting allows us to consider further precinct consolidation. This is perhaps the most impactful way to reduce costs. The referendum election had almost equal numbers of votes cast by absentee ballot (46.5 percent of the total) as at the polls (47.4 percent).

We are also considering expanding early voting sites as another way to increase convenience for the voter while reducing costs. Convenience leads to greater participation and cost savings. A win-win-win.

We encourage voters to contact our office to request to be placed on absentee status. This request can be made for a specific election or for every election between now and the next two general elections. Voters may call our office at 941-741-3823 or access our website, www.votemanatee.com.

Michael Bennett, Manatee County Supervisor of ElectionsBradenton

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