Auditor Of Public Accounts
Luallen: Second Voting Leave Review Shows Great Improvement
Kentucky State Auditor Crit Luallen released a new review of state employees’ use of the four hours leave time granted to them by Kentucky state government for the purpose of voting. The review, performed by the Auditor’s Division of Information Technology and Special Examinations, determined the extent to which Commonwealth employees who took voting leave for the May 16, 2006 primary election and the November 7, 2006 general election actually voted. The review was detailed today in a letter from Ms. Luallen to Personnel Cabinet Secretary Brian Crall.
The new data match, promised by the State Auditor after the last review, showed great improvement over a previous data match released May 5, 2005 covering the November 2003 general election and the May 2004 primary election. However, the review did identify 1,195 employees, or 5%, who took voting leave in the May 2006 primary but no record of the employee actually voting was found in the voter history file. In May 2004, 17% of those employees taking leave did not show up on the voting records. Similar improvement was discovered in the November 2006 voting leave data match. During that election, 935 employees, or 4%, did not appear to vote. In November 2003 that total was 9.5%.
The total leave time granted for these employees for the 2006 elections was 8,271 hours. Considering the actual hourly wage of these employees at the time the leave was taken, the cost of voting leave that did not comply with the regulatory or statutory requirements for both elections was $136, 357, compared with $424,521 in the original review.
Since the last report, the Personnel Cabinet and several agencies instituted new controls over employees’ use of voting leave. These new measures include proactively notifying employees of their responsibility to vote, requiring signed leave forms certifying that the worker is a registered voter, and post-election review of employees’ compliance with the voting leave requirements. These additional measures have successfully and substantially reduced the total cost of inappropriately taking voting leave by $288,164, or 68%.
As in the previous report, an error rate of approximately 5% is anticipated, indicating a small percentage of those who did not appear on the voter history file may have actually voted. The Auditor’s Office recommends that each agency review those who took leave to vote but did not appear on the voter history files as voting.
“Voting is an important right granted every citizen. The state recognizes this by granting state employees four hours leave time with pay to cast their ballot. It is a positive development that improvements were made by state employees and the administration to ensure that this benefit is not misused. We recommend agencies continue efforts to emphasize employee compliance with voting leave rules,” State Auditor Crit Luallen said.