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Carbon receives $224K for elections

Carbon County will receive nearly a quarter of a million dollars to help offset costs of election implementation.

The board of commissioners on Thursday ratified the submission of a grant application for Act 88 funds in the amount of $224,813.76. The funds are used to cover required procedures of the election, including pre-canvassing, canvassing, absentee and mail-in ballot data, voting machine vendor support, voter list maintenance and auditing.

Lisa Dart, county elections director, thanked the board for reconsidering applying for the grant.

The board initially was against applying for the funds until discussing the state grant with other counties.

Dart said that an analysis of expenditures for the November election, as well as next year’s primaries, showed the county would spend approximately $161,000.

“It pretty much covers everything that you can think of,” she said, noting that there are some requirements counties must follow under the terms of the grant, but those are things Carbon already does as part of its procedures.

The main thing, Dart said, was that the county communicate with the Department of State throughout the election process, which she said they do.

Commissioners’ Chairman Wayne Nothstein said that while the board wasn’t in agreement with this grant at first because of the requirements placed on it, once they realized it was pretty much what Carbon already does, he reconsidered.

“$224,000 is a big chunk to really turn away,” he said.

Carbon County’s election budget is projected at $342,000 annually, so the grant will allow for a 50 percent reduction needed from the general fund, but Commissioner Chris Lukasevich warned that while this is good now, Dart needs to act as if it isn’t a reoccurring grant when budgeting every year in the event the state stops giving the funds out.

In other election matters, Dart said that her office had nearly 9,000 voters listed on the permanent mail-in ballot request list, but many of those went back to the polls since mail-in ballots became an option in 2020.

She said that the county elections offices in the state decided to look at the records and remove any voters from the mail-in option, who have voted at a precinct in the last year.

Dart said 3,900 names were removed as a result, meaning they returned to voting at the polls rather than through mail-in ballot.

To combat some confusion regarding permanent mail-in ballot options, voter registration and other election services, Dart said she hopes to use some of the state funds to train poll workers, as well as for the public.