CSAC Bulletin Article

Counties Seek State Reimbursement for Special Elections

February 28, 2019

With a number of special elections already slated to take place in 2019, CSAC has submitted a coalition letter requesting Department of Finance (DOF) to reimburse counties for the cost of special legislative vacancy elections in the current and previous fiscal years. CSAC has been shining a spotlight on this issue for several years, given the State’s decision to stop funding special elections in 2007 and the resultant strain on county budgets.

All other local government agencies –cities, special districts, and schools – pay for their portion of elections. When legislative elections are part of a regular primary or general election ballot, counties pay the state’s share of the costs, which in these cases are both marginal and predictable. However, for special legislative vacancies, a county must mobilize its entire elections infrastructure, which creates significantly higher and unbudgeted costs.

CSAC, joined by Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) and Urban Counties of California (UCC), feel it is appropriate that the State backfill counties for conducting special elections, especially given their frequency and associated costs. This is all articulated in our letter to DOF, submitted late last week.

CSAC will keep counties apprised of any forward progress on this important request.

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