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News Auditor Bump Says State Must Pay Cities and Towns $7.2 Million for 2013 Special Election

Bump's Division of Local Mandates certifies costs of 2013 Special Election.
9/12/2013
  • Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump
  • Division of Local Mandates

Media Contact

Mike Wessler, Communications Director

Boston — State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today reported that the Commonwealth must reimburse Massachusetts cities and towns more than $7.2 million to cover the cost of the 2013 special election for US Senate.

In 2009, the Office of the State Auditor determined the Commonwealth must pay the costs associated with special elections to fill US Senate vacancies. Following the 2013 special election, Auditor Bump’s office contacted all 351 Massachusetts communities to collect the data necessary to certify the total cost incurred. The amounts for each town ranged from $234 for the Town of Tyringham to $970,398 owed to the City of Boston. The amount includes both the primary and general elections.

In a cost-saving change, 2013 legislation allowed communities to hold their local elections on the same day as either the state primary or general election. A survey found that 110 communities took advantage of the new law, leading to a savings of more than a half a million dollars from the $7.8 million spent for the 2010 US Senate special election.

“Conducting statewide elections are essential, but costly burdens on our local communities. It is now time for the state to hold up its end of the deal,” said Auditor Bump. “As in the past, I know Secretary of State Galvin, Governor Patrick, and the Legislature will give municipalities their full support.”

A letter containing Auditor Bump’s cost certification has been sent to Secretary of State William Galvin, who will administer the reimbursements.

The Office of the State Auditor conducts technical and performance assessments of state government’s programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors. Auditor Bump’s Division of Local Mandates is responsible for determining the local financial impact of proposed or existing state local mandates. Under the Local Mandate Law, any post-1980 state law or regulation that imposes additional costs upon any municipality must either be fully funded by the Commonwealth or be subject to local acceptance.

Read Bump's certification letter here.

See costs by town here.

Media Contact

Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump 

The Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) conducts audits, investigations, and studies to promote accountability and transparency, improve performance, and make government work better.

Division of Local Mandates 

DLM responds to requests from local government leaders to determine if a state law is an unfunded mandate on municipalities. In addition, we serve as a source of information on issues harming municipal budgets, and provide recommendations to address those issues.

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