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The cost of voting in Virginia to go up

Monday - 5/30/2011, 1:49pm  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- The cost of voting has just gone up, big time, in some Virginia localities and the reaction is one of surprise.

The redistricting plan for both the state House and Senate approved by the General Assembly will create a large number of split voting precincts in Northern Virginia. Local governments will foot the bill for adding new voting machines and poll watchers, and for notifying voters when those changes take place.

County governments could have to cut elsewhere to make up for the increased cost.

In Prince William County, Chairman Corey Stewart says the price tag could be much more than the $246,000 the Board of Supervisors had already put in the current budget.

"It's the General Assembly that screwed up and caused this situation in the first place" he said.

"They ought to be the ones that fork over the funds to rectify this split precinct situation that is going to cause so much confusion."

The total cost in the state's largest county, Fairfax County, will be about $750,000. Board Chair Sharon Bulova is surprise by that estimate.

She says it will now show up in the Registrar's budget and they will have to find ways to "absorb" it. Fairfax County will also be seeking federal or state funds to offset the cost, she said.

"I don't know that when the General Assembly did their redistricting process they realized what the cost would be for the localities" Bulova said.

The assembly returns to session on June 9 to deal with congressional redistricting.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved)