April 11, 2016 - (SANTA ANA) - County election officials watched closely as the chances of California playing a significant role in the Presidential primary changed from unlikely in January to certain in late March. We are working within our current budgets to successfully administer elections and ensure voters are well informed and can vote with little to no wait.
However, other circumstances this year pose unique challenges that will require additional resources. This is the first election we have administered where a dozen potential statewide measures in circulation will be delivered to our offices nearly all at once, at the same time that final planning for the June 7th primary converges, which includes surges in voter registrations.
The surge in voter registration is unusual not only in the amount of registrations but in how early it began. We generally see the spike in registration in the days and weeks leading up to the voter registration deadline, which this year is May 23rd. We have determined that we will need to process an unusually high amount of voter registration forms for a primary- while at the same time processing an unusually high amount of initiatives.
"We are grateful to Secretary of State Alex Padilla for his letter to the Governor and legislative leaders on April 4th requesting additional election administration funds for his office and county election officials," said Neal Kelley, President of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials and Registrar of Voters, Orange County. "Not until late March did we see enough evidence to suggest that the June 7th primary would put a highly unusual strain on our limited resources," he continued.
Swift action is needed to provide county election officials with additional staff and resources. We look forward to working with the Governor, legislature and Secretary of State to craft strong provisions with the necessary checks and balances in place to ensure these funds are used expeditiously and responsibly.
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About the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials
The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials (CACEO) is a non-profit association representing California's Clerks (responsible for filing and maintaining important documents in the public interest); Clerks of the Board (supporting the Boards of Supervisors by preparing and recording minutes; receives and processes applications for assessment appeals); and Registrar of Voters (responsible for conducting elections throughout California).