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New Jersey Counties Question Costs of Special Election

Friday, 21 Jun 2013 11:09 AM

By Melanie Batley

Republican county officials in New Jersey are lining up with Democrats to question the costs of the statewide special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

The freeholder boards in Bergen and Monmouth counties say they don't know how they will pay for the Aug. 13 primary and Oct. 16 general elections set by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, the Huffington Post reports. In Union County, the freeholder board passed a resolution outright objecting to the election costs.

Though Christie has pledged the state ultimately will pay the estimated $24 million bill, counties will have to pay upfront and then wait as long as seven months for reimbursement, Huffington Post reported.

Officials claim they may have no choice but to use money already allocated for public programs.

"With the special elections, the state is throwing the burden on the county, and I believe the county should be paid before them," Monmouth County Freeholder John Curley, a Republican, told NJ.com.

"We're struggling as a coastal county with all the problems from Sandy.Now we're left with towns that are devastated and the tax base is deficient," he added.

The cost of the special election has been the subject of controversy since Christie announced it on June 4. Critics say the costs are unjustified when an election for governor and other state offices already is set for Nov. 5.

Christie has said he doesn't care about the costs. Under state law, he has the right to choose an election date, but some say his decision was politically motivated to prevent his name in the governor's race from appearing on the same ballot as popular Democratic Senate candidate Cory Booker, who is expected to draw a large number of Democrats to the polls.



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