nb-mike-quinn-220

Chief electoral officer Mike Quinn says election costs are the price of democracy. (CBC)

The votes from Monday night’s municipal election have been counted, but the bills, which are expected to be higher than in 2008, have not.

The cost of municipal elections is usually about $6 million, according to the province’s chief electoral officer Mike Quinn.

But there were 548 polling stations set up Monday — nearly 70 per cent more than during the last election.

The extra 225 polling stations were needed to accommodate voting in rural areas for the regional health authority boards, Quinn said.

Meanwhile, a large number of people were hired to work during the election.

There were greeters, people taking voter information, and people giving out ballots, while others directed voters to private voting tables, and fed ballots into electronic vote counters.

'You have to have a surge capacity to meet the high ratio times because then, what you don't want is a lot of people lined up and having to wait.' —Mike Quinn, chief electoral officer

Some voters told CBC News they were amazed to see more than 30 people staffing some polling stations.

Quinn defends the staffing levels, saying all of the people were needed.

"Those folks obviously got there at one of the lulls, the slower times," he said.

"That's the thing about voting, you have to have a surge capacity to meet the high ratio times because then, what you don't want is a lot of people lined up and having to wait more than five minutes to vote."

The system worked well, Quinn said.

"That's the cost of democracy," he said. "And we'd rather have people served well and quickly than have people complain that they had to wait too long."