Estimates of the costs of the petition method for qualifying parties:
1. Cost to the party
a. $134,000 in cash
b. 2,200 hours of additional volunteer time, above and beyond time spent by paid petitioners
c. 250 hours of additional administrative time, planning drives and raising funds
d. 10,000 individual pieces of paper. That’s more than 20 reams of paper, or 400 pounds!
2. Cost to the taxpayers of North Carolina
a. Processing costs for county clerks, who must check the validity of every signature: 4,000 hours! That’s more than 160 person-days of time that county clerks have to spend on this task. And that is assuming only 2 minutes per signature. Some take 5, or even 10, minutes to verify each signature.
b. Since the process keeps most parties out completely, the real cost to taxpayers is democracy. No choices, no new ideas, and no competition in a system that could surely use it. Nearly half of the seats in the General Assembly will be unopposed again this year because we have had to spend all our resources on this bizarre exercise instead of recruiting candidates and campaigning.