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    Posted April 25, 2012 by
    Farmersburg, Indiana
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    Cities Struggling to Find Money to Pay for General Election


    Cities  and counties across the US of A are struggling to find money in budgets  that are already blown to pay the cost of conducting the general  election this November. Many of these communities are on the verge of  bankruptcy or already going through the process.

    The  toil of the economic crisis has already stripped many locales to the  barest essential personnel to provide needed services. Now local  officials are trying to find what else may be cut or how they can borrow  from other departments to meet the need to provide polling stations and  workers to man the poll.

    In  urban areas already known for long lines and waits as voters cast their  ballots, those lines and wait may be even longer. But that also means  that voter turnout may be depressed or many who planned to vote may get  tired of waiting and go home.

    Traditionally  a lower voter turnout has benefited Republicans. Democrats are worried  that if people tire of the wait, it could spell trouble as President  Barack Obama seeks a 2nd term.

    Compounding  the issue and adding even more financial hardship are new election laws  passed in  many states. These new laws may cause the need for more poll  workers, which means added cost to communities already barely getting  by.

    The economy looms large over November's general election in a basic way for strapped cities and counties: can they afford it?

    In  Detroit, the city clerk warned last week that the Rust Belt city would  have trouble holding the November 6 presidential election under a  slimmed-down budget the mayor proposed to address years of deep  financial problems.

    In Jefferson County, Alabama, the local  government was so short of cash for elections that it used road repair  crews to staff the state's Republican presidential primary last month.

    And  in South Carolina, a $500,000 shortfall after the state's Republican  primary in January led elections officials to consider a sponsorship  deal with comedian Stephen Colbert, who plays a mock conservative pundit  on his late-night TV show.

    With cities and counties across the  United States in dire financial straits, many local officials are  struggling to come up with the millions of dollars they will need to  hold the November 6 elections. That is likely to mean fewer election  workers and long lines for voters, which could reduce turnout.

    It  is a problem that could affect candidates and political parties in  November but particularly President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats,  who are relying on support from big cities such as Detroit.

    High-turnout  elections typically are better for Democrats, who usually fare well  among low-income, minority and less-educated voters whose election  turnout is inconsistent, said University of Wisconsin political  scientist Charles Franklin.

    For example, he added, "The people  with the least flexible job and day schedules are more affected by those  long lines, and at least to some extent those may be hourly workers who  may lean Democratic."

    New, stricter voter registration laws in  some states such as Florida could exacerbate the problem by raising the  need for more elections workers to verify voters' eligibility.

    Local  governments across the nation are planning to shift costs - putting off  road repairs for a few days while transit crews work on elections, or  borrowing workers from other departments to help count votes.


    From the Cornfield, could this year voters show up to find no one manning the polls?

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