The Jan. 13 special election that overturned the town’s nip ban cost taxpayers more than $50,000, Town Manager Derek Brindisi told the Select Board Tuesday.

That compares with the $57,000 Town Clerk Kelly McElreatch estimated last May’s town election cost. The turnouts for the two elections were about the same, McElreath said, with about 15 percent of registered voters – or about 7,200 – participating in each.

The Jan. 13 vote was a forced by Plymouth liquor stores owners who gathered enough signatures to require it. They objected to an October Town Meeting vote approving an end to the sale of nips, saying it would harm their business and cause people to consume more alcohol while driving.

The ban, however, was not set to take effect until July, after the regular spring town election.

McElreath said the January vote cost less than last May’s annual town election because she used fewer election workers per precinct, something she accomplished by allowing precincts that share polling places to share workers. It was also cheaper to code the memory cards that go into the voting machines, as there was only one question on the ballot.  

But regardless of turnout, McElreath said, she still had to order the same number of ballots.

“You never know what turnout is going to be,” she said.

Fred Thys can be reached at

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