By Ed Coghlan.
Who pay for elections has been a long simmering argument between state and local government.
California Forward has issued a report that says the state should develop a new way to pay for elections administration.
The analysis, titled “Investing in California’s Democracy: Building a Partnership for Performance,” calls for replacing the antiquated “mandate reimbursement” process with a state contribution for the costs associated with the election of state officials and statewide ballot measures. The analysis concluded that most states share directly in these costs, and provides options for doing so.
The analysis, funded by the James Irvine Foundation, emphasizes the state has two significant opportunities to help pay for elections in ways that over time will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of election administration:
- Execute adequate, fair, sustainable and shared funding between counties and the state for operational costs
- Create a special fund for technology procurement that also incentivizes improvement among the counties
“This analysis provides detailed information on the operations, challenges and opportunities. A new funding model would replace conflict with the capacity and incentives for a collaborative and efficient elections system,” said Jim Mayer, president and CEO of CA Fwd.
This issue was discussed at the Future of California Elections (FoCE) Conference earlier this year. CA Fwd interviewed two of the people who were on the panel discussing the issues of who pays for elections.