To conduct elections, oversee the collection of census data, and maintain a collection of public records including voter and resident lists, campaign finance records, and election results. The Elections Department conducts fair and orderly elections by distributing and administering nomination papers and petitions, certifying signatures, preparing ballots, administering early elections, staffing polling locations, maintaining voting machines, training wardens and clerks, tabulating votes, publishing the official results of all elections, and ensuring candidates’ compliance with campaign finance laws and the Somerville Ethics Ordinance. The Department also administers the annual city census, which is mandated by the City Charter and the general laws of Massachusetts. Census information is used by the Election Department to ensure accurate voting lists and is used as a critical data source by many city agencies.
Changes from FY20
The Elections Department is proposing a 14% increase for FY21 due to the need to staff up for the upcoming Presidential election as well as response to additional safety precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the September and November elections, we are being asked to prepare for early voting, absentee voting, mail in voting as well as person voting. Consequently, we need to hire staff to help us facilitate these items.
Ordinary Maintenance increases of 27.3% are strictly due to Presidential election year preparations.
Personal Service increases of 9.9% are due to union collective bargaining settlements during FY20 as well as an additional $27,000 in expected costs for poll workers in the Salaries & Wages Temporary line.