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Some question why local taxpayers shoulder high costs of primaries

Posted at 9:28 PM, Jun 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-10 06:56:03-04

RICHMOND, Va.  -- Voters across Virginia took to the polls Tuesday to cast their vote in primary elections.

This primary season, however, the cost has been painfully high for some localities. [VIEW: Election results]

Partially because the State Board of Elections decertified electronic, touchscreen machines in April, which forced cities and counties like Henrico and Richmond to purchase new equipment.

Henrico purchased over a million dollars worth of machines that can properly scan paper ballots. Richmond decided to rent equipment for around $141,000.

ballot cost

"It's very much different," Kirk Showalter, Registrar with the City of Richmond, said.

"The touchscreens under Virginia law are prohibited," Showalter said; a hint that paper ballots will be used for the foreseeable future.

The new charges are in addition to the estimated $150,000 it costs each area locality to run a primary election.

"I think the parties should carry the cost, it is a party thing," Susan Byrd, a voter who supports  political parties picking up the tab.

Last year, a bill in the General Assembly would have shifted the burden to political parties however it died in committee.