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Bloated primary budget would employ more than 10 percent of Hartford Republicans

By   /   April 5, 2012  /   No Comments

By  | Raising Hale

HARTFORD – Hartford Republican Registrar of Voters Salvatore Bramante. Courtesy of the City of Hartford.

After accusing the Hartford City Council of failing to fund a Republican Presidential primary, evidence is growing that the city’s registrar of voters significantly over-budgeted for the vote.

Republican Registrar of Voters Salvatore Bramante began agitating against city officials with a March 1 statement accusing them of effectively cancelling the primary in Hartford. He requested about $90,000 for the primary and insisted any less would not be enough to hold the vote.

Bramante did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

His budget included $1,715 in staffing costs for each of Hartford’s 23 polling places. This contrasts with New Haven’s expected budget, as reported by the New Haven Independent, of about $750 per polling place.

New Haven also has a larger number of registered Republicans, 2,458 versus Hartford’s 1,865.

If Hartford implemented Bramante’s plan, about 250 people would work to collect a maximum of 1,865 votes. In other words, more than one in 10 Hartford Republicans would in one way or another have an election-related job.

Registrars in New Haven are lobbying the state for permission to consolidate polling places and further reduce staff costs for future votes.

According to the Secretary of the State’s Office, state law requires at least five poll workers at each polling place and towns must hold primary elections at the same polling places used in general elections.

Bramante proposed staffing each polling place with a moderator ($275), two assistant registrars ($195 each), two official checkers ($195 each), two ballot clerks ($180 each) and two tabulator tenders ($150 each).

According to the Independent, New Haven’s pay scale is slightly different: moderator, $350; official checker, $140; ballot handler, $135;

and machine tabulator, $130. Although the moderator makes more, each of the other positions are paid less.

Bramante’s proposed budget also includes city-wide election officials with much larger budgets and pay rates of more than $3 per hour, including a head moderator ($3,500 budgeted), deputy head moderator ($2,475 budgeted) and a central count moderator ($2,475 budgeted).

The City Council’s counter-proposal cuts Bramante’s budget by reducing the number of staffers at each polling place to the state minimum, m

uch like New Haven’s plan.

The $53,000 budget also saves money by reducing the hours of set-up crews from four 35-hour weeks down to one week, for a savings of $13,475.

The council budget also reduced the cost of temporary office staff by reducing it to one week instead of three, saving an additional $3,570. Continue reading here…

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