Press Release

Press Release Auditor Says State Must Pay Cities and Towns $2.76 Million for Next Year's Elections

Funds to cover the cost of extra mandated polling hours for the 2016 March Presidential primary, the 2016 September state primary and the November general elections.
For immediate release:
9/16/2015
  • Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump
  • Division of Local Mandates

Media Contact for Auditor Says State Must Pay Cities and Towns $2.76 Million for Next Year's Elections

Mike Wessler, Communications Director

Individuals casting ballots at four voting booths

Boston — State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today reported that the state must provide cities and towns with more than $2.76 million to cover the cost of extra mandated polling hours for the 2016 March Presidential primary, and the 2016 September state primary and the November final elections.

The Auditor’s Division of Local Mandates determined in 1983 that a state law requiring municipalities to keep voting places open three extra hours was an unfunded mandate and that the state must pay for the increase in election-day staffing costs.

“The Legislature extended polling hours to make it easier for citizens to get to the polls before and after work and increase participation in national and state elections,” said Auditor Bump. “These extra hours increased the financial burden on cities and towns which the State Auditor has determined to be the responsibility of the state.”

Every two years, DLM certifies the amount the state must pay cities and towns to implement this state mandated service by requiring communities to document additional election-day costs. To collect the cost data, DLM utilizes an electronic certification form that all 351 municipal election officials were required to submit by the end of July. DLM then audited and certified each form and Auditor Bump forwarded a report detailing the costs to the Secretary of State on September 15, 2015. The Secretary of State distributes the money to each community prior to the scheduled elections.

Auditor Bump certified $922,590 in extra costs for the March Presidential primary, and $1,845,180 for the fall elections. Since 1984, DLM has certified over $25 million for direct state payments to cities and towns to cover this mandate.

See Bump's analysis here.

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Media Contact for Auditor Says State Must Pay Cities and Towns $2.76 Million for Next Year's Elections

Office of the State Auditor 

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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