The new state budget is here, and once again it leaves the state's election system holding an increasingly empty bag.
For years counties have relied on the state to help fund state laws that change the voting process and in turn, make extra work and cost extra money for counties.
The last time election mandates were funded was 2009, when they accounted for about $30 million paid to all 58 counties. The largest in terms of dollars and impact is the permanent absentee voter program, which allows Californians to sign up to vote by mail in every election rather than reapplying each time.
Since then, the money has been withheld by the state and counties have had to make do with less. At the same time, counties no longer get reimbursed for the cost of special legislative elections, despite their growing frequency.