, , , ,

Elections Commission: Moving Presidential Primary Could Cost $6.8M

Third Election Would Cost Between $6.4M And $6.8M

voting booth
Charles Krupa/AP Photo

GOP plans to move Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential primary from April to March would cost nearly $7 million, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

The move is part of a sweeping package of lame-duck legislation. A Republican-controlled legislative committee planned a public hearing Monday, immediately followed by a vote, setting up approval in the state Senate and Assembly on Tuesday.

Moving the primary would create three elections in three months — the state primary in February, the presidential primary in March and the state general election in April. Opponents have suggested the move is to protect conservative Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly from a potential Democratic wave in April.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Democrat Mark Thomsen, a member of the Elections Commission, said the Republican plan to move the presidential primary a huge waste of money, calling the idea the “biggest waste of money for a single person that I can think of.”

A commission memo estimates a third election would cost between $6.4 million and $6.8 million. That estimate doesn’t include all local costs, training costs and software update costs.

The memo warns of plenty of logistical hurdles, including administrating absentee ballots for two elections simultaneously and short deadlines for postelection tasks while prepping for the next contest.

The lame-duck legislation would also weaken the governor and attorney general’s offices.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 12 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 to include comment from Mark Thomsen.