Assemblymember Carrillo Introduces Special Election Reimbursement Bill

Thursday, January 18, 2018

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1886, requiring the state to cover the costs of special elections, relieving constrained county budgets from this burden.

“Recently, there has been a rise in special elections, and counties have been on the hook for these unexpected costs,” said Assemblymember Carrillo. “AB 1886 would ensure the state is covering these costs so county funds can be used to provide critical services and increase voter turnout.”

AB 1886, sponsored by Los Angeles County, would require the state to pay all costs incurred after January 1, 2017 relating to special elections called by the Governor to fill a vacancy for the offices of State Senate and Assembly, United States Senate, and United States House of Representatives. If the election were consolidated with a statewide or local election, the state would only pay the cost directly associated with the vacancy.

Chair of the Assembly Elections & Redistricting Committee and co-author of AB 1886, Marc Berman commented, “In recognition of the fact that the unexpected costs of special elections can strain counties’ elections budgets, California used to reimburse counties for Legislative and Congressional special elections. Rather than paying for such elections by diverting limited county resources away from efforts to modernize elections and improve voter turnout, it’s time for the state to cover these costs once again.”

“Los Angeles County has expended millions of dollars in the last decade conducting numerous legislative and congressional vacancy elections. These unscheduled, unbudgeted elections bring operational and logistical challenges that pull critical resources from important initiatives focused on voter outreach and education, modernizing voting systems and preparing for the next regular election cycle,” said Dean Logan, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. “A representative democracy depends on filling seats that become vacant, but it is both appropriate and imperative for the State to cover the costs of conducting these elections.”

“Elections administration is a basic and important county duty conducted on behalf of the State for decisions at all levels of government, from the smallest school district to the national stage,” said Dorothy Johnson, California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Legislative Representative.  “However, costs from the last decade of special elections to fill legislative vacancies have fallen solely on the shoulders of counties. CSAC appreciates Assemblymember Carrillo’s effort to have the State cover their fair share of elections costs, like local agencies do, and preserve county resources needed for critical services and community programs.”

AB 1886 is currently pending referral to policy committee.

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Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was elected to 51st Assembly District in December of 2017. She is a member of the Rules, Appropriations, Public Safety, Health and Water Parks & Wildlife Committees.  Carrillo’s represents the people of East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, and the neighborhoods of El Sereno, Echo Park, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown and parts of Silver Lake.

CONTACT: Alicia Isaacs, Chief of Staff, 916-319-2051