Hartford Democratic Committee Election Much Cheaper Than First Estimated
By JENNA CARLESSO
March 14, 2012
HARTFORD —— Last week's Democratic town committee election cost $64,868, Olga Vazquez, the Democratic registrar of voters, said Wednesday.
The amount is significant because the Republican registrar of voters, Salvatore Bramante, had said he would call off the Republican presidential primary in April because of a lack of funding. The city council allocated $120,000 to the registrar's office last month, which was to be split, with the Democratic registrar getting about $66,000 and the Republican registrar receiving about $54,000 for primaries. Bramante has said there wouldn't be enough left for the Republican primary after the Democratic town committee election on March 6.
But Vazquez said Wednesday that she came in under budget, leaving the full $54,000 remaining for the Republican primary.
Vazquez said the amount allocated to her by the council made it difficult to run the primary. She said she hired fewer workers than she originally planned. For example, Vazquez said, she hired six ballot clerks instead of nine, three office temps instead of six and six people for the setup crew rather than 10.
"It was a challenge," Vazquez said. "I was caught between two hard places — satisfying the taxpayer and satisfying these candidates. Everyone wants to win in these races, and everyone wants equal representation."
Vazquez told the Courant last week that the town committee election cost more than $90,000, but she said Wednesday that the number had been an "estimate."
Bramante did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday. Officials at the secretary of the state's office have said that under state law, a registrar cannot call off a primary.
David Panagore, the city's chief operating officer, said Wednesday that he has not received any additional requests for funding from Bramante.
Panagore said he is still reviewing the costs that were submitted to him regarding the Democratic town committee election.
City council President Shawn Wooden declined to comment, saying he has not seen documentation about what was spent on the Democratic election.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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