Audit: Early Voting Law Imposes Unfunded Mandate on Cities

BOSTON (AP) — Auditor Suzanne Bump has determined portions of the state’s early voting law impose an unfunded mandate on local governments and those costs should instead be picked up by the state.

Bump looked into the law at the request of Woburn and Oxford.

Bump pointed to a requirement that cities and towns set up polling locations during the early voting period prior to the November election. The locations must be staffed and provide privacy for voters.

In 2016, Woburn reported spending more than $5,400 to meet the law’s requirements. Oxford reported spending nearly $1,500.

Woburn and 0xford can use Bump’s finding to ask for a court-ordered exemption to the law until state funding is provided.

Overall, Bump estimated that municipalities spent nearly $720,000 to meet early voting requirements last year.

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