LA Primary: Cost Per Vote

Louisiana will spend 5-million dollars on Saturday's presidential primary.  But with only 13-percent of registered voters expected to turnout statewide, it raises the question:  How much will the government spend to collect your vote?  The answer may surprise you.

In Caddo Parish, only 12-percent of registered voters are expected to hit the polls for the Louisiana Presidential Primary.  Caddo Registrar of Voters Ernie Roberson told us people often ask him what determines turnout.  He quoted an old wrestling promotion that he believes says it all.  "The more heat, the more feet.  And so, whenever you have heat, you have more feet."

Roberson said he expects that kind of heat for the November general election, predicting 65-percent turnout.  "If you have people emotionally involved and they have some attachment then that creates the heat and then that moves their feet."

Part of the low turnout expected is blamed on the closed primary system, effectively banning Caddo Parish's 34-thousand independent and 'other party' voters from  voting on the presidential candidates.

Another reason for low turnout:  Louisiana's Republican Party already announced that its 47-delegates will go to the party's convention uncommitted.  And to compound the lack of excitement, Sen. John McCain has all but wrapped up the Republican nomination.

Roberson helped crunch the numbers with us, showing Caddo Parish will spend 150-grand on the primary for the 20-thousand voters expected.  He said, that comes to a cost of $7.50, per vote.  The statewide price is nearly double that, at just under 14-dollars per vote.  "But moving all the elections to one day would actually make it worse," Roberson added.

He concluded, if the cost per vote seems high we have only ourselves to blame.  That's because the more people who vote, and the higher the turnout, the lower the price per vote.  But, either way, democracy isn't cheap.