If I heard it once I hear it a thousand times, if you want to kill a piece of legislation then attach a fiscal note. Which is exactly what the Secretary of State’s office tried to do to kill the Tennessee Voter Confidence (TVCA).
If passed this session, HB614 would have not only delayed the implementation of the TVCA but would have also attached a $11 million dollar fiscal note. The note was crafted using wildly discordant numbers provided to the Secretary of State’s office by the county mayors and/or election officials.
Senator Roy Herron (D-Dresden), while trying to stop the delay in today’s Senate session, eviscerated the numbers by pointing out the disparity in estimated costs given by each county and also cites evidence that elections using paper ballots and optical scan machines instead of electronic voting machines are much less expensive to run.
Senator Herron: “If you look and do comparison in four of our counties in Tennessee they estimate it will cost $50 a ballot to audit a few hundred ballots. $50 a ballot. Do you know what the cost is in states using optical scan machines right now? 9 cents. 9 cents. And we have some counties that say it’s gonna cost them $50 dollars a ballot when other states are doing it for 9 cents a ballot. There are counties that estimate it will cost them $20,000 extra to deliver 70% fewer machines. There are counties that estimate it will cost $700 for privacy screens, ladies and gentlemen, when there are other counties that say they can get them for $20 a piece. 1/35th as much. There are counties that say they can get security containers for $25 a piece. You know what some counties estimate when we came up with figures that we’re talking about tonigt? $2800 a security container. $25 vs. $2800. In Williamson County, to conduct one single poll worker training session they estimate it will cost $39,000. $39,000. There’s one county that says it will cost theym $70,000 extra dollars to store ballots that would not fill up a single filing cabinet. And ladies and gentlemen, Shelby County was referred to earlier, they estimate it would cost them $4.1 million more to implement it, that county has never in its history spent that much for its total annual election-related expenses in the history of the county. So I would tell you ladies and gentlemen that I think the numbers vary so widely on the face of the numbers when you look at variances as much as 35x as much I think the numbers are questionable suspect….