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Election funding news & May 10 webinar

May 05, 2016

Hi Folks,

The California Voter Foundation has been focused for some time now on the need for the State of California to help pay directly for some of the costs involved in holding free and fair elections in all 58 California counties.

In this issue of CVF-NEWS, we summarize some important and encouraging recent developments on this front. We also highlight the opportunity to participate in an election funding webinar scheduled for May 10th.

--Kim Alexander, President & Founder
California Voter Foundation

Governor Brown signs bill to provide $16.3 million for elections

Request made by Secretary of State Alex Padilla approved in a matter of weeks

Anticipating a surge in voter turnout based on hundreds of thousands of registrations processed through the state's online voter registration system, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla on April 5 asked Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders to add $32 million to the 2015-16 state budget to help pay for extra election costs the state and counties anticipate due to increased voter turnout in the 2016 elections.

Many counties think they will need extra staff to help prepare for the June 7 Primary while they also work to process millions of petition signatures submitted for the numerous statewide initiatives expected to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

Last Thursday, the California State Senate and California Assembly unanimously approved AB 120, providing $16.3 million, or approximately half of what Secretary Padilla requested. Governor Brown promptly signed the measure.

The enactment of AB 120 is important for several reasons: first, only 24 days elapsed between the time Secretary Padilla made the request and the date on which the new allocation of funds became law. That is lightening quick in lawmaking terms. Second, it marks the first time in five years that California's government has earmarked funding specifically to help pay for local election costs (more on this issue below). Third, it's important to note that this was a unanimous, bipartisan vote of support in both houses of the Legislature, which indicates that the need for more and assured election funding at the county level is an issue with broad support that transcends party lines.

CVF congratulates Secretary of State Padilla and applauds his leadership in addressing election funding needs. See Secretary Padilla's news release for more details.

Senate Budget subcommittee inserts $76 million to support election costs in state budget

Senate subcommittee rejects Governor Brown's proposal to suspend funding for election mandates

For the third year in a row, the members of the California State Senate's Budget Subcommittee #4, chaired by Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside) have rejected in a unanimous, bipartisan vote, Governor Jerry Brown's proposal to withhold funding for county election programs mandated by the state.

The Governor and the Legislature originally suspended these mandated election programs in the 2011-12 budget. They have kept them suspended ever since, effectively converting state laws that require counties to provide no-excuse, permanent vote-by-mail voting and to verify signatures on provisional ballot envelopes, into optional programs.

The cost of requiring these programs, estimated to be $76 million statewide, was put back into the State Senate's version of the budget at the Budget subcommittee's April 28 hearing. If this funding allocation remains in the final version of the budget, then counties would be entitled to seek reimbursement for vote-by-mail and other programs created through state law.

In the past two state budgets, the State Senate's full budget committee approved the addition of funds to support local election programs but the funding was removed by the budget conference committee. See CVF's letter of support for additional details.

CVF applauds Chairman Roth, as well as State Senators Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) for their support in the Budget subcommittee, and sends a special thanks also to Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), who along with Senator Roth has provided important leadership on the election mandates funding issue over the last several years.

Election Funding Webinar on Tuesday, May 10

Future of California Elections hosts free event from 11-noon

Funding for elections is essential to strengthening California's democracy, yet election administrators face rising costs and significant challenges, including replacing aging voting systems. The webinar, titled "Funding Democracy: The Future of Sustainable Election Funding and Governance" explores the true costs of elections and strategies for providing adequate and sustainable funding for elections in California.

Speakers include:

The event is free but registration is required.

Register online here

Follow CVF on Twitter!

CVF uses Twitter to help our audience connect with important news and developments in the field of voting and elections, and also to offer live tweeting from conferences and events. An archive of tweets and links to relevant stories is available at!/kimalex3.

Follow @kimalex3 on Twitter to get CVF news tips, opinion and analysis from CVF's president.

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The California Voter Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting and applying the responsible use of technology to improve the democratic process. CVF-NEWS is a free, electronic newsletter featuring news and updates about the California Voter Foundation's projects and activities.

Contact the California Voter Foundation by:

phone - (916) 441-2494
web - http://www.calvoter.or
U.S. Mail - P.O. Box 189277, Sacramento, CA 95818

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This page was first published on June 23, 2015 | Last updated on May 5, 2016
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