Thursday, June 07, 2007

2007 Election Administration Update

On Wednesday, June 6, 2007, the Utah League of Cities and Towns participated in an additional meeting with the counties and Lieutenant Governor regarding the upcoming municipal election and the addition of the school voucher referendum issue to the statewide ballot in November.
This meeting served as a follow-up to a similar meeting held two weeks ago, and while the last meeting was spent going over the issue of election finances, this meeting focused primarily on the administration of the upcoming elections.

So, here is the “scoop” on what Utah cities and towns can expect for the 2007 municipal primary (September 11, 2007) AND general election (November 6, 2007):

• It is anticipated that the total cost of administering the GENERAL election will be approximately $3.665 Million.

• Preliminary discussion intimate that the state will pick up approximately $2.3 Million and local government (cities, counties, SSD) will pick up the remaining $1.3 Million.

• It was again made clear that the cities and towns will ONLY be held responsible for the anticipated costs that had already been included in the municipal budgets to conduct MUNICIPAL elections. Based on a recent survey of municipal budget outlays for the upcoming election, it appears that cities and towns have more than adequately budgeted for the $1.3 Million in outstanding costs that must be picked up by local government. (We now have survey results in for 140 of the 242 cities and already have general election budget figures of $1.26 Million allocated that will be used toward the $1.3 Million requested of local government)

• An executive directive will be issued by the Lieutenant Governor that will direct that counties administer ALL November 6, 2007 elections to include the early voting requirements, absentee ballots, and Help America Vote Act requirements. In order to comply with Help America Vote Act, the counties are required to utilize the DRE electronic voting equipment.

• The Lieutenant Governor will contract with the counties to provide technical support from Diebold Election Systems Inc. to assist in elections administration, and will provide the state allocated funds to the counties to offset some of the election costs.

• Cities/Towns will only be solely responsible for the municipal PRIMARY elections. The cities/towns will also be responsible for declarations of candidacy, municipal election financial disclosures, Board of Canvassers (municipal races) and will contribute the municipal BUDGETED costs associated with the GENERAL election to the county/state to help underwrite the election costs. Any additional costs other than those which were budgeted will be picked up by the state appropriation that was discussed earlier.


• Counties will be responsible for general election absentee ballots, early voting, Election Day ballot programming, and general election day “rovers”. The counties will serve as the Board of Canvassers for the statewide referendum and will pay any costs not covered by cities/towns, special districts, and state contributions.

• The State will be responsible for the voter information pamphlet, statewide technical support, voter rights posters/stickers and will put up state funds for the election.

It will be imperative that all cities and towns begin working closely with the counties to ensure that the elections run smoothly. We would certainly encourage such coordination to begin sooner than later. The details that are not covered in this synopsis are essentially left up to the counties and cities. Coordination on polling locations, possible contracting to run municipal primaries, precinct consolidation and other such details are sure to come up. Both the legislature and the Lt. Governor will likely defer on such issues and assume that the counties and respective cities will “work it out”.

Until Next Time...Enjoy