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2018 Early Voting Mandated Cost Reimbursements for Cities and Towns

After a mandate determination by the Office of the State Auditor, the Legislature has allocated funds which will be used to cover mandated municipal costs of providing early voting during the 2018 general election. Learn more about which costs are covered and how cities and towns can report them to the state for reimbursement.

Table of Contents

The legs of four people who are hidden by the red and white curtain of a voting booth.

Overview

The Legislature has included an appropriation to reimburse early voting costs for the 2018 general election period in a supplemental budget recently signed by the Governor. The appropriation provides funds to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, who will distribute the early voting reimbursements. The Secretary of the Commonwealth's Elections Division has asked the Office of the State Auditor's Division of Local Mandates to certify totals for each city and town based on their actual costs. This certification will be presented to the Secretary when completed by the Division. This process is separate from the grants offered by the Secretary for extended hours on the weekends.

The Office of the State Auditor's Division of Local Mandates will be conducting a survey to certify municipal costs that are eligible for reimbursement under the mandate determination issued in February 2017. 

What follows is an explanation of the costs included in last year’s funding reimbursement. We encourage cities and towns to track these expenses carefully so they can respond to our survey in a timely fashion. We anticipate the survey will be circulated in mid-November.

Additional Resources

Hours

DLM’s mandate determination found some costs associated with the required provision of early voting hours by cities and towns were an unfunded mandate and therefore eligible for reimbursement. The allowable hours include those hours for which the clerk’s office was open during the early voting period. This is defined as regularly scheduled hours of the clerk’s office and did not include any special hours offering early voting periods during the day, at night or on the weekend. 

Personnel During Required Hours

Checkers, Ballot Box Attendees, and others hired specifically to cover the required hours of voting

These costs did not include regular staff (staff who receive a set weekly or yearly payment regardless of hours worked) assigned to early voting. 

Example:

  1. If you hired a person to staff the mandated early voting polling location for 70 hours, all 70 hours could be included in your total;
  2. If you had a clerk’s office employee who is paid by the hour who normally works 20 hours per week but worked an additional 10 hours as a checker for early voting, the additional 10 hours as a checker could be included in your total.

Costs for staff who were paid by the hour to work beyond regular hours to set up and/or take down the mandated early voting polling location or to input data into the Secretary of State’s Voter Registration Information System (VRIS)

These costs did not include salaried staff. Other costs that were not eligible for state reimbursement included time of staff at optional alternative locations, staff that worked the optional weekend hours, or custodial expenses. 

Example: If you had a clerk’s office employee who is paid by the hour who normally works 20 hours per week, but worked an additional 10 hours inputting data into the VRIS system for early voting, the 10 hours inputting data should be included in your total.

Voting Booths

The mandate determination also covered the costs of purchasing or fabricating voting booths and privacy screens used for the purpose of early voting.

Other Costs Not Covered by the State

Other costs associated with early voting, such as newspaper advertising to publicize the availability of early voting and postage and other mailing costs to cover early voting by mail, were deemed to be outside of the mandate determination and not covered by the reimbursement.

Contact

Fax

617-727-0984

Address

1 Winter St.
9th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Date published: October 25, 2018
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