Tuesday’s abysmal turnout for the Democrat statewide primary provides an occasion to assess DPVA’s latest gift to the taxpayers of Virginia.
For roughly 3% turnout, state and local government costs for administering the election equaled about $4 million. Stated another way, the 144,000 voters that showed up each cost the taxpayers about $27. In some localities, the cost per voter was extraordinary. For example, in Craig County, a primary election costs local government about $15,000 to administer. But only 52 people voted in the Democrat primary across the entire county, meaning Craig County laid out an astounding $288 per voter. In a county with an all-volunteer Fire & Rescue system, where they have trouble being able to afford to maintain and buy life-saving equipment, the Democrats’ choice to impose a primary on the taxpayers is especially burdensome, and has potential real life-and-death consequences.
The pointlessness of the expenditures were felt even in larger counties. In Stafford, we had two precincts with 14 total votes cast. In more densely populated Leesburg, there was a precinct with only 7 voters all day long. These are fully-staffed with election workers paid with taxpayer money.
By contrast, the statewide GOP nominations cost the taxpayers precisely $0. Yes, I know there were local and HOD Republican primaries at the same time (and included within the same overall cost), but these are primarily a product of Virginia’s incumbent protection law that allows incumbents a great deal of latitude to pick their own nomination method. Bottom line is that it says something good about the GOP that we actually care about not foisting the costs of our own internal statewide nominating process on the taxpayer, unlike the Democrats.