Idaho Secretary of State forgot to budget for primary
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney forgot to include money for the 2020 presidential primary in his budget, forcing legislative budget writers to scramble to find $2 million when the error was noticed.
The Idaho Press reports Denney failed to request the $2 million that will be needed next year to reimburse counties for the cost of holding the primary. The state is required by law to reimburse the counties for that expense, so Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee members scrambled to find a place to pull the funds. Ultimately, they were forced to pull the forgotten line item from the general fund.
The stand-alone presidential primary is fairly new in Idaho. The Legislature passed a bill in 2015 that set the primary for the second Tuesday in March in each presidential year, starting in 2016. The bill also required the state to pick up all the costs of the primary, and the legislation included the funding for the 2016 primary.
Republican Rep. Paul Amador from Coeur d'Alene asked Denney about it Wednesday morning, as the committee was about to vote on the budget.
"Obviously, budget writers never like surprises, and the presidential primary is an additional line item in here," Amador said. "I'm just curious as to what happened and why that wasn't included, and then maybe the protocols you're putting in place to make sure it isn't a surprise next time."
Denney said it simply "slipped through the cracks," noting it had never been a part of the office's budget in the past.
"This is in the actual budget, so I think from here on out, here every four years it will show up, so I don't think it will fall through the cracks," Denney said. "We will notice from here on out."