Hot election year causes spike in county clerk’s budget

With four elections in 2020, including the presidential race, spending to jump by $80,000
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press staff

With four elections next year, including a presidential race expected to have a high turnout, Ozaukee County Clerk Julie Winkelhorst is nearly doubling her election budget this year to accommodate voters.

Winkelhorst’s 2020 proposed budget for elections is $168,075, about $80,000 more than last year when there were just two elections.

That will include ballots, programming, notices, supplies and other items, she said.  

Winkelhorst purchases and provides all ballots for all municipalities, publishes notices for federal, state and county elections, and some combined notices with municipalities.

Her office also programs all election equipment and provides some supplies to municipalities.

  Next year could have four separate elections — a potential primary in February; the spring election in April, which will include the Wisconsin presidential preference primary and all 26 county supervisor seats; the partisan primary in August and the general election in November.

Winkelhorst said her budget does not include funds for recounts, recalls or special elections.

“We do not know what the turnout will be in any given year so we have to guess,” she said.  “April and November will be the biggest turnout, so ballot costs will be high.  I cannot have the municipalities running out of ballots so I will order in excess of 100%” of registered voters.

The county bears the cost for federal, state and county races or referendums, which accounts for most elections in 2020.

Municipalities and school districts pay a portion based on local races and referendums.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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