OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS
Legislative Office Building, Room 5200
Hartford, CT 06106 ¯ (860) 240-0200
AN ACT CONCERNING THE INTEGRITY AND SECURITY OF THE VOTING PROCESS.
LCO No.: 8612
File Copy No.: 513
Senate Calendar No.: 407
OFA Fiscal Note
The amendment results in various minimal costs to municipalities related to manual audits and changes in election laws and is a state mandate. The amendment also results in a minimal cost to the Secretary of the State associated with training polling place observers and could also result in minimal revenue gain. Further detail appears below.
The amendment requires the registrar of voters to conduct a manual audit of votes recorded in not less than ten percent of the voting districts of the state, selected at random by the Secretary of the State. The audit will result in a cost to municipalities associated with compensating any election official participating in the administration and conduct of the audit at a standard rate of pay established by each municipality for elections and primaries. For example, auditing two polling locations in the city of Hartford will cost approximately $1, 500, which includes the cost of audit staff at approximately $200 each and additional expenses, such as food. However, during the municipal elections held in 2007, the Secretary of the State may utilize federal funds to reimburse any municipality subject to manual tabulation at the standard rate of pay for each poll worker involved to the extent allowable under the Help America Vote Act, PAL. 107-252.
The amendment requires registrars of voters to administer paper ballot elections and requires municipalities to cover all of the associated costs. Administrative duties include locating rooms for holding elections and managing booths and ballot boxes. The initial cost to lock and store equipment, such as tabulators, ballots, and privacy booths, may be significant in the event that municipalities have to reconfigure or find additional space.1
The amendment will result in a cost savings to municipalities that hire 2 shifts of election officials to staff polling locations. The amendment removes the requirement that both the first and second shifts of election officials be required to remain until the closing of the polls, and requires only second shift members to remain until closing and all paperwork is complete. Personnel costs will depend on municipalities. Currently, many towns hire only one shift lasting approximately 16 hours. For example, the town of Vernon hires one shift of election officials, totaling approximately $12, 000, while the city of Hartford hires one shift, totaling approximately $38, 000. It is uncertain how many municipalities staff two shifts and could experience savings.
Additional net cost or net savings may result due to changes in the number of election officials and other individuals who may be lawfully present at a polling place during polling hours. Each municipality determines the compensation of each worker, a fee that is estimated to range from approximately $75 to $275 per day.
Polling Place Observer Training
The amendment will result in a minimal cost to the Secretary of the State associated with establishing a curriculum, training program, and certification process for polling place observers.
The amendment requires town clerks to pay a $50 late filing fee for not filing all pages of a nominating petition by the time required, resulting in a potential revenue gain to the Secretary of the State.
The amendment makes it illegal to tamper with votes in a ballot box at any point after an election by removing the 180 day limit, potentially increasing the occurrence of collecting a fine of not more than $500, imprisonment, and disenfranchisement. The amendment also removes a fine of up to $500 against candidates who act as a moderator, box tender, or count ballots in a paper ballot election. Any change in revenue from criminal fines imposed under the amendment or marginal cost for incarceration and/or probation supervision in the community as a result of the amendment would be minimal.
The amendment will result in a cost to municipalities in the event of a tie vote in a primary for state and local office. The amendment changes the resolution of the tie vote from being determined by lot to being determined by a run-off primary. The cost of this run-off primary will differ by municipality. For example, the city of Waterbury, would estimate spending $40, 000-$45, 000 based on the number of eligible voters, polling locations, and poll workers.
The preceding Fiscal Impact statement is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for the purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.
1 The Secretary of the State will provide all municipalities with equipment purchased with federal, Help America Vote Act funding.