Arkansas Election Costs Reach Almost $3 Million

AUGUST 31, 2006 - Posted at 7:49 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The cost of Arkansas elections has risen under a new federal law.

The spring primary and runoff elections were the first held since the Help America Vote Act expanded the use of electronic voting machines.  The state Board of Election Commissioners says they cost Arkansas about $600,000 more than previous elections.

The board estimated yesterday that the primary and runoff elections cost $2.9 million.  For the primary and runoffs in 2004, the board spent about $2.3 million, though that figure included some 2002 expenses for counties that didn't hold runoffs until 2004.

Deputy Secretary of State Janet Harris said most of the cost increase this year was due to programming the electronic voting machines and other new technology.  Harris said the board now faces a budget shortfall of more than $154,000 for the two-year period that ends June 30, 2007.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)