Legislation Would Reimburse Counties and Municipalities for Special Elections Prompted by the State’s Errors
Senator Sam Thompson sponsors bipartisan legislation, approved today by the Senate state government committee, that would spare county and municipal governments from the costs of special elections prompted by errors by the state.
Senator Sam Thompson sponsors bipartisan legislation, approved by the Senate state government committee, that would spare county and municipal governments from the costs of special elections prompted by errors by the state. (©iStock)
Thompson’s bill, S-2527, would require the state to reimburse local governments for expenses incurred conducting new elections.
“It’s not right to leave a county holding the bag if a judge invalidates an election because the state fouled up,” said Thompson (R-12). “Unfortunately, mistakes happen, and preserving the integrity of the ballot may require a do-over election which can cost as much as $30,000 or more. That’s money that is not in the budget of local governments that did everything right the first time. The state should make good on it.”
Thompson’s legislative district includes Old Bridge, where the November 2021 election was overturned by a judge because some voters received the wrong ballots. A do-over election was held on March 22.
“This bill does the right thing,” Thompson said. “The intent is not to punish the state for mistakes, but to be fair to county and local governments that are responsible for administering the make-good elections. They shouldn’t be expected to pick up the tab.”
S-2527 provides that a county or municipality must be reimbursed upon application to the Secretary of State and approval by the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting in the Department of the Treasury.
If enacted, Thompson’s bill would be retroactive to Nov. 1, 2021, allowing Old Bridge to apply for reimbursement for the March 22 election.