• 37°

Cost of returning absentee ballot up

People may get a little sticker shock when they go to send their absentee ballots back to the Lawrence County Board of Elections this year.

This year it will cost just under a buck to send it back.

The cost has gone up because of an increase in postal service rates and it will cost 97 cents to post it.

Eric Bradshaw, the deputy director of the Lawrence County Board of Elections, said it costs his office $1.14 to send it to voters.

“Last year it was 87 cents for us and 63 cents for voters to mail it back,” he said. “And we had two ballots to send last year. It’s just ridiculous.”

Bradshaw said their ballots are smaller this year, so the price increase is due to the post office. The ballots, which consist of an envelope addressed to the voter, an envelope to mail it back, a privacy envelope and the ballot, now has to be mailed under a flat rate, not the letter rate.

Bradshaw said the request for absentee ballots is down a little this year, which isn’t uncommon since more people vote during presidential election years.

“We’re probably in the neighborhood of 1,600 to 1,800,” he said. “In 2005, it was probably a thousand more than that.”

Bradshaw said they normally send out about 4,000 absentee ballots, which means it will cost $4,560, an increase of

$560.

“This comes at a time when the county can’t afford to pay anything,” Bradshaw said. By law, the county commissioners have to pay for the ballots to be sent out. “We have to got to get the vote out to people, it just costs a fortune to do it.”

The last day for absentee ballots to be sent out is noon on Nov. 3.

Absentee ballots have to be returned to the board of elections by close of polls on Nov. 6.