Local Government and Politics, News

Wong wants money to pay for early voting in Saugus

SAUGUS — State Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus) is standing by a proposal to reimburse cities and towns for costs associated with early voting.

The proposal, which was sponsored by the House Republican Leadership and adopted unanimously by the House of Representatives as an amendment to the $132.2 million final deficiency supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2017, was defeated by the senate earlier this week, said Wong.

The bill would help have helped cover costs of implementing the law during the Nov. 2016 election, when more than 1 million early votes were cast.

“The introduction of early voting in Massachusetts required a significant investment of time and resources by our cities and towns,” said Wong. “I’m proud to support this effort to compensate the communities of the 9th Essex District for all the work they did to ensure that the process ran smoothly.”

Though the bill was defeated, Wong said he still believes some of the burden should be taken off cities and towns.

The Massachusetts early voting law was passed by the Legislature in 2014 and allows registered voters to cast a ballot as early as 11 business days prior to election day. The option will be offered every two years, said Wong.

State Auditor Suzanne Bump ruled that some of the expenses cities and towns were subjected to in the implementation of the early voting law constituted an unfunded mandate, and suggested the cost be borne by the state.

The language adopted by the House on Monday would have set aside more than $485,000 to reimburse cities and towns for costs that have previously been certified by the Division of Local Mandates within the state auditor’s office.

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