ELECTION RECOUNT COSTLY IN MANY WAYS | Citizens Against Government Waste


Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact:  Sean Rushton or Melissa Naudin
November 22, 2000(202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – Up to now, pundits have assessed the presidential election’s cost in terms of the new president’s ability to promote his agenda and achieve a mandate, as well as by the damage to the stock market and economy.  Today, Citizens Against Government Waste released its estimate of the actual cost to taxpayers in Florida of the recount there.

Based on reliable Florida sources, CAGW estimates that millions of dollars are being spent on the recount, money that normally would be available for county emergencies and contingencies such as hurricanes and other disasters.

“While some may say it’s a small price to pay to determine ‘the voters’ true intent,’ the recount, to say nothing of the recount of the recount, is hardly something to give thanks for during this most American of holidays.  Instead of counting their blessings on Thanksgiving, many in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade County will be counting chads,” CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz said.  “They will also be counting less money in their retirement accounts.  Next year, during hurricane season, they may be assessing the damage to their property and their bank accounts, thanks to the shortfall in the county contingency funds and the need for increased taxes caused by the recount.”

“Those currently demanding selective recounts may view losing the presidency as a disaster, but it’s unlikely most taxpayers in the three counties share that opinion,” Schatz said.  “CAGW estimates the cost of the recount in Palm Beach County alone is $25,000 per day, including pay and food for county workers, overtime for police and sheriff’s deputies, and production costs for the government’s televised monitoring of the recount.” 

“The supervisor of elections budgeted for a normal election cycle, both now and in local March elections, and it will not be enough for the recount.  Clearly, Palm Beach will have to dip into its $6 million contingency fund.  Taxpayers in the three Florida counties could face a new ‘recount tax’ if their contingency fund runs dry during this fiscal year,” Schatz added.

Assuming all ballots are counted by November 27th, and based on the populations of  Broward (1.5 million) and Miami-Dade (2.2 million) counties relative to Palm Beach (1 million), CAGW projects the recount could cost the three counties over $2 million.  That does not include the cost of the time taken by the courts to argue the many lawsuits over the election results, nor does it include the devastating effect the election’s uncertainty has had on the stock market.  Since November 7, the Dow Industrial Average has dropped by about 480 points, and the Nasdaq has plummeted over 600 points.  The impact of those declines is particularly hard on retirees, a disproportionate number of whom reside in southeast Florida.

For interviews and information, contact Sean Rushton at (202) 467-5309.  He will be checking voicemail over the holiday weekend.

CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with over a million members and supporters, dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement, and abuse in government.


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