Pursuant to Chapter 273 of the Acts of 2018, an FY18 Supplemental Budget, the Division of Local Mandates within the Office of the State Auditor was asked by your office to certify expenses for all cities and towns of the Commonwealth from the early voting period of 2018. I am pleased to report that, after compiling and reviewing responses from each of our 351 municipalities, we are certifying a total of $1,144,156.22 for the mandated early voting costs related to the general election held in the fall of 2018. The detailed amounts for each community are shown in the attached spreadsheet.
In order to compile and certify this total, my office sent an electronic survey to elections officials (primarily city and town clerks) in all 351 municipalities, asking them specific questions about the expenditures they incurred to meet the requirements of the early voting law. As you may recall, that law called on municipalities to offer early voting during normal business hours during a 12-day period in October 2018. Our mandate determination found that some additional expenses – such as overtime for regular employees or the cost of additional election workers – incurred to support early voting, constituted an unfunded mandate, thus requiring reimbursement from the Commonwealth. These expenses, having been electronically submitted and carefully examined by our Division of Local Mandates, comprise the total cited above.
In preparation for the 2018 general election, the legislature appropriated $2,500,000 for your office to dispense to municipalities to support early voting. In part because you have already provided some funding for communities that offered additional voting hours over the weekend of October 27 and 28, 2018 (beyond the minimum hours specified by the law), our analysis did not include those costs, nor are those optional expenditures included in the totals attached today.
This process accounts for the expenses for 2018. We now look forward to working with you as the Commonwealth develops a formal, ongoing procedure for covering these local costs for state-mandated early voting in 2020 and beyond. We have already made suggestions to the proper committees for recommended legislative language and we will continue to cooperate with your office on information obtained in this year’s election and certification process that can lead to even better outcomes in the future.
Contact for Certification of Mandated Early Voting Costs in the 2018 Election