Meanwhile, in Gillespie County…

Bless their hearts.

The hand count of thousands of Republican primary election ballots in Gillespie County is on track to cost taxpayers more than double the wage costs of the 2020 Republican primary, according to records obtained by Votebeat.

Public records show Republicans employed 350 people to hand count, who collectively reported working more than 2,300 hours the day of the election at a rate of $12 per hour. That means more than $27,000 in wages.

Those numbers aren’t final, and they’re likely to grow. The tally does not include hourly wages for election clerks who worked at each of the county’s 13 precincts on election day checking in voters and performing duties other than counting. In addition, Gillespie Republicans will also hand-count ballots in a runoff election at the end of the month, which will add to the costs.

Gillespie’s experience illustrates how election costs could rise if the method is more widely adopted across the state.

Four years ago, for the Republican primary election, the party spent less than $13,000 total on election worker wages, including wages for those who worked during a runoff election.

The initial costs also show the hand count of this year’s primary is set to cost taxpayers more than what the county spends annually on electronic tabulating equipment that can be used across multiple elections.

Gillespie County paid $160,968 to purchase voting equipment from Hart Intercivic in 2021, according to a source familiar with the county’s contract. The equipment has a 15-year life expectancy. In addition, the county spends $9,120 annually on licensing fees and technical support for the machines, plus around $6,000 per election for programming the equipment.


Luis Figueroa, chief of legislative affairs at Every Texan, a nonprofit group that advocates for fair taxation and voting rights, said that over the past two years, Republican lawmakers have approved election policies based on administrative errors and discrepancies in Harris County — a Democratic stronghold — but are doing nothing about the issues that surfaced during the Gillespie hand count.

“A machine breaks down in Harris County, and lawmakers have multiple hearings and pass bills that not only would sanction them, but also to remove county officials, or want a redo of the entire election,” Figueroa said.

In contrast, in Gillespie, “they’re having inaccuracies doing hand counting, and there’s no accountability and no calls from anyone to stop this practice,” he said.

Bruce Campbell, Gillespie County’s Republican Party chairman, told Votebeat that increasing people’s confidence in the election is worth the additional cost. When asked if he thought county residents felt more confident about the process following the hand count, he could not say.

“I don’t have a sense of the county as a whole,” he said. “I know the 350 people who participated in it are mostly enthusiastic about it.”

See here and here for the background. I don’t think I could provide a better summary of the current Republican ethos than Bruce Campbell’s quote, so I’m gonna leave it there. I’m sure there will be more. Enjoy spending all that extra money on this weird obsession, y’all.

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One Response to Meanwhile, in Gillespie County…

  1. TBender says:

    Can’t wait for the Lege in January for a bill to provide subsidies for hand counting

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