County registrars fear tax extension will not leave enough time to prepare for election
Governor Jerry Brown will not meet his Thursday deadline for the legislature to approve his tax extensions. That's of great concern to county registrars who fear if this delay drags on for a couple more weeks there may not be time to prepare for a June election. KUSI's Steve Bosh has been following this story and reports on the latest details.
County registrars, by law, have to begin preparations 88 days out from the June 7th election so they can meet specific dates to mail out sample ballots, absentee ballots, and overseas ballots.
San Diego County Registrar Deborah Seiler says if the governor does not find four Republican votes in the next two weeks to put the tax extensions on the ballot there may not be an election. “I couldn't guarantee that we would have all of our polls recruited and staffed, and those poll workers trained, so that would be very challenging if it went to 60 days, I think it would be extremely difficult to make the election happen,” said Seiler.
Ballots, in four different languages, have to be assembled and printed. Sample ballots, absentee ballots, and overseas ballots all have to go out by statutory dates.
Distribution centers have to be located, as do election night collection centers. Workers have to be trained for polling places, and to scan ballots on election night.
Another big challenge is hiring 5,000 poll workers, a good many of whom are often students who have done this before but run the chance of many of them being gone on summer vacation.
The governor's deadline of Thursday was set to give the registrars the time they need, but the date is flexible.
The legislature will vote on the governor's budget package this week, which includes $12 billion in cuts. That gives the governor two more weeks to round up four Republican votes to get the taxes on the ballot.
One other major uncertainty is who will pay for the election. If the state shifts the cost to the county, that's a $5 million-plus hit to San Diego.
The registrar raised these concerns when she traveled to Sacramento. “They were receptive, they were sympathetic, they understand the logistics involved but at the same time they're working on a political deadline that doesn't necessarily match ours,” said Seiler.
The governor needs the election before the end of June because the taxes he wants to extend expire in July.