Boston, MA – State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump certified that the state must pay communities $3,165,097.59 to cover the cost of extra mandated polling hours for the 2020 March presidential primary, September state primary, and November general election.
Her office notified Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin of the decision.
In 1983, the Legislature passed the Uniform Polling Hours Law, which mandated that cities and towns open polling locations for at least 13 hours on primary and general election days. Recognizing that this would be an unfunded mandate on these communities, the Legislature also included language in the bill directing the State Auditor to certify the additional costs communities face to provide these extended polling hours. Based on this certification, the Secretary of the Commonwealth provides funding to communities to offset their expenses. Since 1984, the Office of the State Auditor has certified approximately $30 million for direct state payments to cities and towns for this mandate.
Bump certified $1,055,032.53 in extra costs for the March presidential primary and $2,110,065.06 for the fall elections. She also renewed her call for the Legislature to address the ongoing unfunded mandate caused by the Early Voting Law.