Democracy was more expensive for the state of Alabama in fiscal 2012 than in the previous two years.
The state spent $12.2 million on elections last fiscal year, compared to $6.6 million in 2011 and $9.7 million in 2010, according to the state finance office.
About $9.6 million was spent last year on election expenses such as ballots and other supplies, postage, advertising, machine rentals and poll worker fees.
About $2.1 million went to county boards of registrars for their expenses.
Because the fiscal year ended in September, the upcoming Nov. 6 general election costs will be part of the 2013 tally.
The 2012 number does include the Sept. 18 constitutional amendment vote, which was expected to cost the state about $3 million.
Alabama lawmakers want more information about the state Agriculture Department's proposed two-year, $288,000 contract with a former lawmaker.
W.F. "Noopie" Cosby Jr. has done consulting work for the department for a few years, but the proposed $12,000-a-month contract would increase what he's paid, Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Brett Hall said.
Cosby also would work more on international trade efforts, Hall said.
"That figure isn't just his fee. There is a lot of costs in that," he said.
Lawmakers on the state's Contract Review Committee said last week they'd like to know more about those costs before the department moves forward with the contract.
"There's a better way to do this," state Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, R-Madison, said.
The agriculture department in the past few years has eliminated nearly 100 of its 400 positions because of budget cuts.
Sometimes, every quote doesn't make it into a particular story. But they're still interesting. Here's one from state Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, about the presidential race.
"I personally feel like, if we as a nation elect Barack Obama again, to me it is going to be a signal that we as a nation have turned the corner and we finally have more people in the wagon than pulling the wagon, and it is a swift decline at that point," Henry said last week while giving comments before the first presidential debate.
About Republican nominee Mitt Romney's "47 percent" remark, Henry said he didn't think it was too far off the mark.
"I think around half the people in the U.S take more than they give in regards to the government, and that's not a healthy nation."