Even though there will be no city candidates, Sartell will still hold a primary election Aug. 14 for any non-city candidates on the ballot.
At the July 9 city council meeting, Mayor Joe Perske asked city administrator Patti Gartland if Sartell could just have one or two precincts open that day in an effort to save the city some money. Sartell currently has seven voting precincts. Perske noted voter turnout for primary elections is typically low. Perske suggested perhaps precincts should be combined in one or two precincts – say, the middle school and city hall.
Gartland said there are several good reasons not to diminish the number of polling places. For one thing, it wouldn’t be good to make voters wait in line, and for another thing, voters expect consistency in precincts from election to election, Gartland added. Changing polling places, even for one election, could cause confusion, she said.
Money savings, in addition, would not be very much, Gartland said.
It costs the city about $18,000 to set up an election, not counting the time spent by the deputy clerk in post-election paperwork and other duties.
Sartell already has a list of those willing to serve as election judges in each precinct – seven to 10 judges for each of the seven precincts and, all told, 60 judges. Each judge is paid $9 per hour on election day, and head judges an additional $50 in compensation.