N.J. counties may wait until next year for state to repay costs of special elections

New Jersey will hold a special primary election for U.S. Senate Tuesday in advance of an Oct. 16 general election to fill the late Frank Lautenberg’s old seat.

Counties across the state will have to wait for reimbursement from the state for the costs associated with the unexpected elections.

Monmouth County Freeholder Gary Rich, who expects his county to spend close to $2 million for the special primary and general election expenses, said he and his colleagues asked for an upfront payment from the state — to no avail.

“Because this is a special election, and we already had our regular money budgeted to cover our elections, the cost and the size of this election is something that we hadn’t prepared for,” Rich said. “We are very cautious with the taxpayers’ dollars, and any time there is an added expense, we really like to know that we are getting some benefit from it or we have a way to manage it.”

Gloucester County’s cost will total about $900,000, according to administrator Chad Bruner.

State officials, however, have refused to front the money. Payment isn’t expected until early next year.

“All the municipalities have to pay their poll workers,” Bruner said. “We get a copy of that and submit the paperwork to the state, and then they pay within 30 to 45 days of that — end of January, beginning of February is how it traditionally works.”

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