ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In May, a federal judge ruled for New York’s congressional primary to be moved to August 23. The primary was postponed after the state’s highest court declared the district lines submitted by the New York State Legislature were unconstitutional.
Pushing back the primary to August 23 avoids a “chaotic situation” for voters, said U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe of Albany. It also gave the state’s congressional redistricting process enough time to finalize the maps, which were finalized towards the end of May.
However, the primary for statewide and local officials is still June 28. The general election is on November 8.
By adding an extra primary day, counties need to open polling places and hire workers, among other expenses. NEWS10 asked the Board of Elections in different counties around the Capital Region to see how much the extra day will cost.
To simplify the data for each county, here’s a chart with the estimated costs. The Schoharie County Board of Elections said it will not know how much the August primary will cost until after the election is certified.
In Albany County, the cost of the August primary will be about $500,000. In Schenectady County, the Board of Elections said they recently requested $108,000 for the County Legislators for the primary. That number may go down slightly based on the number of primary locations across the county.
The Rensselaer County Board of Elections said the August primary will cost an estimated $100,000. This number does not include employee salaries and early voting, which may increase the number by at least $15,000. The June primary will cost about the same as August.
In Saratoga County, the estimated cost of the August primary is $250,000. This includes the costs of poll workers, custodians of machines, ballots, trucks, and compensation time for staff. The Board of Elections said this price may be higher than the June 28 primary depending on how many early voting places they need.
The cost for the August 23 primary in Greene County is about $53,000. The Greene County Board of Elections said the cost is very similar for the June 28 primary.
In Columbia County, the cost of the extra primary is estimated to be around $60,000. The price could fluctuate depending on staffing and polling places. The cost of the June primary is fairly similar.
The cost for the August primary in Warren County is about $50,000 for two early voting locations, staffing of the 21 polling locations, legal advertisements, and the cost of delivering and purchasing supplies. The cost is about the same as the June primary.
According to the Washington County Board of Elections, the cost of the August primary will be an unbudgeted item. At this time, this will only be a Democrat primary for two candidates for the 21st Congressional seat. The estimated cost is over $40,000.
The Board said this cost is pending legislation to raise the pay of the poll inspectors statewide. If this is passed before the August primary, the cost will rise by at least $10,000. The June primary will cost about the same. In Fulton County, the August primary will cost about $40,000 and will cost about the same as the June primary.
The Montgomery County Board of Elections said over the past 10 years, the average costs for primaries have been $17,000. The highest was in 2021 at over $22,000 due to the expanded polling place hours.
The Board said the cost varies each year because of the number of political parties, districts involved, and the number of eligible voters and absentee voters. The June 28 primary cost could exceed the $25,000 mark because the early voting hours have increased.
The Board said the August primary may also cost more than $25,000 due to a statute that goes into effect on July 1. The statute requires absentee ballots to be sent with a postage-paid return envelope. This increase will depend on the absentee voters returning their ballots.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.