Price Tags of Walker Recall Election Would be Varied, Significant

Patch took a look at what a potential statewide recall election would cost local municipalities.

UPDATED: 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.

A statewide recall election for Gov. Scott Walker and as much as $17 million with a primary, according to numbers released by the Government Accountability Board on Jan. 6.

Significant numbers, for sure, but what does that mean to local municipalities and taxpayers?

In an attempt to put a price tag on a possible recall election, cities, villages and towns across the state participated in a survey from the GAB. The survey asked clerks for estimated costs of a hypothetical recall election based on real costs for local elections in November 2010 and April 2011.

Those estimated costs were broken down into three categories:

  • Counties: approximately $2.3 million
  • Municipalities: approximately $5.8 million
  • GAB: approximately $840,000
  • Total: approximately $9 million (not including a possible primary)

All municipalities would be financially impacted, but just how would that estimated $5.8 million responsibility be sliced up? Local clerk’s offices will be charged with covering the costs of wages, including overtime and pre-and post-election work in most cases; election training (state law requires a minimum of 1 hour of training per worker the day before an election); postage for mailing absentee ballots; mileage and several other factors.

  • , City Clerk Jennifer Goergen submitted an estimated cost of $64,125 to the GAB.
  • Oak Creek’s estimate of $27,920 included nearly $20,000 in poll worker wages.
  • Muskego’s estimated cost came to $18,565.
  • Village Clerk Karie Torkilsen estimated a cost of $22,800 in Caledonia, including $11,000 in poll workers’ wages.
  • The Greendale clerk’s office submitted an estimated cost of $16,000, while Mount Pleasant submitted $15,000 and the Sturtevant an estimate of $5,250.

In addition, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus estimated the costs of one special election to be around $100,000 for the county. That does not, however, include the costs for the individual municipalities in the counties.

The City of Waukesha is estimating that it will cost the city $28,000 to run a special recall election. That figure assumes a preliminary election, according to Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Gina Kozlik. If there is just one special election, Kozlik said, the costs could be around $15,000. The costs include staffing the polls, absentee mailings and processing and all staff time, according to Kozlik.

Most municipal leaders did not plan for special elections in their 2012 budgets and could be scrambling to pull funds from other sources or departments to cover costs. What’s more, in some municipalities, changes in state election laws and the number of regularly scheduled 2012 elections have forced the need to hire additional help. Greenfield recently authorized the filling of an additional part-time position in the clerk’s office to handle data entry.

“This year is going to a financial killer,” Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke said. “(The clerk’s office) is overwhelmed with the work associated with recent legislative changes, with guidance that seems to be constantly changing and arriving last minute from the state.”

The above totals also don’t account for a possible primary, throw his or her name in the ring to run against Walker.

"There is every indication the Democrats could have more than one candidate, plus you have to consider the potential of state senate recalls," Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told Patch earlier this month. "So, really, $9 million could just be the beginning, we could be talking as much as $20 million."

MacyFray January 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Cancel the voter ID bill? Well I guess it will be harder to get all those illegal votes in if you need an ID. You need an ID for most things in life and if it helps prevent voter fraud I'm all for it. I'll be happy to prove who I am so no one can steal my vote. There is no reason for someone not to have an ID. They are making it very easy to get. Don't start whining that it's too expensive, it will prevent the poor from voting. It's just not true. The only people it prevents from voting are those who are doing it illegally!
TOM January 18, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Jason Patzfahl January 18, 2012 at 04:23 PM
In order to save taxpayer $, Scott Walker should simply due the admirable thing and step down since almost 27% of the electorate came out in the Wisconsin winter, stood in line and signed the recall. (California got only 7% of their electorate to recall their Governor, and everyone thought that was amazing).
Mike January 18, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Or Jason, some people will get mad at this comment however, Walker was in NY yesterday getting money from none other than AIG who received $118 billion in TAX PAYOR MONEY for bonuses and bailouts. Instead of giving money to Walker, how about paying the money back to us the taxpayors? Walker could also donate the money received to pay for the recall because quite frankly he created this mess with his policies. 1 million signatures does mean that the people have spoken now. I dislike all politicians but supporting big business over the people is just wrong. I hate unions also so I am not biased that way. Time for us to take off the team jerseys and play nice. the name calling is childish and shows that this country is severely divided and what we seen in the arab region is soon to come to our streets. Neighbor against neighbor coming soon. Are these dirtbags worth it...absolutely not.
Dennis Drews January 18, 2012 at 05:21 PM
all those who want this wasteful election, should pay for it. 17 million dollars could go a long way to do good. Why should we ALL pay for it.
Mike January 18, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Now its $17 million? I thought the damage to the capital building was $7-$8 million also but was realistically around $250k. This was estimated to be $9 million and when said and done will be much less. Again, the media over exaggerating the costs to get the cattle all riled up. I disagree, Walker created the mess he should pay for the mess with the donations he got yesterday from a company (AIG) that owes the US taxpayors $118 billion...that is billion dollars. Pay us first before giving money to politicians to keep their jobs.
Bren January 18, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Some serious sour grapes going on here. Tom, you have no basis for your claim. Gear, public employees are already losing their jobs in Wisconsin-Walker's budget calls for 21,000+ to be removed from the payroll through retirements, layoffs, and transfers to higher-paying crony appointments. Wisconsin leads the U.S. in public employee job cuts for 2011-10.1% Thanks for voting for Walker and causing misery to so many people and families. MacyFray, you swallowed the Voter Fraud meme hook, line, and sinker, I see. The incidences of voter fraud are minute-please see my post on J.B.'s "Desperate Men..." blog. I'm sorry there are mushrooms willing to hand over their Constitutionally-protected right to vote over to the plutocrats, but I'm not one of them. If you are going to keep falling for the Voter Fraud meme, at least balance it by discussing the fraud perpetrated on voters during the recent senatorial recall, when out-of-state professional signature collectors were caught misrepresenting their purpose and spreading misinformation (or the fake absentee ballots that were supposed to be mailed to Wisconsin Right to Life's P.O. Box).
Bren January 18, 2012 at 06:46 PM
AWB, they weren't trying to match the total number of votes cast in 2010, they were aiming for 750,000 and you know that. Stop crediting the unions for the recall--this effort has gone way beyond collective bargaining for state employees.
Bren January 18, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Wisconsin Spring!
Bren January 18, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Mike, it was nowhere near the $100,000 Scott Walker claimed it was. The cleaning staff had to remove posters and some tape residue and basically mop the floors. More Walker lies.
Bren January 18, 2012 at 06:51 PM
We have to pay for your Governor's actions, so why shouldn't everyone pay their fair share of cleaning up this mess. Next time let's hope more people do a little more research on candidates before they vote. Then we don't get stuck with corporate puppets.
CowDung January 19, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Mike: Have you got a link to support your 'Walker got money from AIG' claim? I thought that his fundraiser was more like a $2500/plate reception. The fact that the reception was hosted by Greenberg (the founder of AIG) doesn't mean that Walker was accepting money from AIG...
GearHead January 19, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Nice try Jason. Be careful what you wish (or pettition) for. What is admirable is how Walker will survive the recall with a greater vote percentage than before. The idealogical lines cannot be clearer, and you can't field a candidate who can beat him.
GearHead January 19, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Bren, Wisconsin also pretty much lead the nation in government workers per capita. We are over-represented by governement. So any reduction is going to look big, be it numbers or percentage. That still isn't a bad thing. Goverernment isn't a jobs program; it is about delivering essential public service. You and I disagree on what is essential.
Stormy Weather January 20, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Bren - Just wondering if you are a paid union blogger because you have their talking points down pat... It's just too bad that you don't have the brains to think for yourself.
Patriot January 20, 2012 at 04:28 PM
@Bren-Get a clue. The only reason you and progressive lefties want voter ID canceled is because the illegals wont be able to vote. Hard to get an ID without the proper LEGAL documentation. Had you let Walker serve his term that would save money. The silent majority will once again prevail. Whats really sad is all those who will lose their jobs in the public sector because of your unions leading you down this path. WAKE UP
Patriot January 20, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Most of the hard core progressive LIBS have no clue what common sense or self responsibility is!!! So brain washed with the socialist liberal ideas.
Patriot January 20, 2012 at 04:36 PM
@Bren-You are really way out there. Let the democratic process run its course. No instead a few disagee and your answer is RECALL. Just like the clowns in Indiana who have vacated their seats because they dont agree!!!
Luvtoroam January 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM
How many poor children could have been fed, taught, clothed, etc.? This is a good reason to not have ANY Democrats in office. They do their union buddy bidding-screw the tax payer! Someone needs to explain to me why "public" workers should be "entitled" to more than those folks paying the bills. 8 years of the crook Doyle, that is what they want to go back to? Only in their universe can you walk out of your job, still get paid, disrupt the business of the state and think you deserve more? Get rid of all those bums!
Luvtoroam January 21, 2012 at 12:46 PM
And you are smoking some real funny stuff if you believe this recall is going to only cost 9 million!
Patriot January 21, 2012 at 02:39 PM
@Luv-Ditto!! Seems to be the norm anymore. I mean look at whats going on in Indiana. The Dems have run off to hide, preventing the Democratic processes because once again the small minority disagree!! These so called Dems, rather the progressive LIBS who have HI-Jacked the Democratic name are desperate and being fed by the BIG UNION BOSSES. People its all about the BIG UNION BOSSES and their bottom line. They could care less about you.
jack ryan January 22, 2012 at 12:32 AM
See what happens when you deceive the voters about what you really are planning.
Bren January 22, 2012 at 06:24 AM
"Get a clue." "Wake up." Yes, more civil comments from the right. Many people will potentially be affected by the Voter ID bill. Wisconsin's bill is the worst to be brought forward and will cost $6m to enact. Why so stringent? And how do we have the money to spend on this when Wisconsin was supposedly "broke?" Can you answer my questions civilly? Otherwise don't bother.
Bren January 22, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Patriot, I must be "way out there." I have no idea what your post means.
Bren January 22, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Stormy, you amuse me.
Bren January 22, 2012 at 06:35 AM
Yes, look what's happening in Indiana. A group of Republicans have started a group called "Lunch Pail Republicans" because they oppose the attacks on public unions in that state. Apparently some of them are public union employees and believe what is happening goes against their traditional Republican values.
Patriot January 22, 2012 at 12:06 PM
@Bren-The process I am referring to is elections. Gov Walker was elected by the people so allow the process to run its course. If at the end of his term he has not done a good job he will be voted out. But to recall because we dont agree is WRONG
Patriot January 22, 2012 at 03:35 PM
@Bren-If I am not mistaking its 35 Democrats that have gone under ground. So now please explain to me how that is the democratic process? Amazing how they can introduce and pass legislation when they are the majoritey with no Republicans leaving the State or going underground. Just like when the Obama, Pelosi, Reid machine rammed Obama Care down our throats in the cover of darkness. Pelosi's Quote- "Will just have to pass the bill to see whats in it" followed by a cackle
Patriot January 22, 2012 at 03:36 PM
What happens?
jack ryan January 22, 2012 at 11:43 PM


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