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County and city agree to combine Nov. elections

March 1, 2012

Clerk-Recorder Kammi Foote

Inyo County approved a resolution Tuesday to consolidate the City of Bishop General Election with the statewide General Election held on the first Tuesday of November on even-numbered years.
With approval from the Board of Supervisors, the city will now hold its General Election Nov. 6, 2012.
The approval of the consolidation means that in November, residents will be voting for president, state and federal officials and city council members, as well as Board of Supervisors members, should the June Primary result in run-offs for those county seats.
Clerk of the Board Pat Gunsolley said the consolidation will have no financial impact on Inyo County.
Clerk-Recorder Kammi Foote said any costs incurred by the county resulting from the consolidated election will be billed to the city, which will reimburse the county.
Historically, the city conducted its General Municipal Elections in April of even-numbered years until 1995, when the state enacted legislation that moved the Direct Primary Election to March of even numbered years, just weeks before the General Municipal Election.
To avoid confusion and potential conflicts, Bishop moved the date of its election to odd-numbered years.
Recently, the city began the process to combine its election with Inyo County’s state election, in order to conserve funds.
“There is no question that the consolidation will save money for the City of Bishop,” a cost analysis done by Foote states. “There are currently 9,351 registered voters in Inyo County, of which 16 percent (1,512) are within the City of Bishop boundaries.”
Foote said the estimated cost for the city to conduct a stand-alone election is just over $19 per voter.
With the consolidation, Foote said the city will be paying approximately 58 cents per voter to hold the election.
The city will save money because the cost of preparing and mailing sample ballot pamphlets and vote-by-mail ballots are reduced if it shares the overall cost with other districts and entities.
Foote said that the cost of conducting the polling place portion of the election will also be shared with other districts and entities holding an election on the same day.
“Finally,” Foote said, “overhead costs of the Elections Department for various functions such as preparing notices, proofing ballots, processing vote-by-mail ballots, programming computer software and proofing electronic tabulating equipment and preparing the canvass are also spread more broadly in a statewide General Election.”
Foote also pointed out that, in the past, the county has approved election consolidations for local school boards and other entities in an effort to save money.
“It’s a time when everybody is trying to save,” Assistant City of Bishop Clerk Denise Gillespie said Tuesday.
“The request to consolidate the General Municipal Election with the Statewide General Election in November of even-numbered years with election services provided by the Inyo County registrar of voters would have no foreseeable adverse effect on ballot styles, voting equipment, computer capacity or processing for the Inyo County Elections Department,” Foote’s cost analysis states.

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