The 2023 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to examine the costs associated with conservation district elections under current law and the projected costs and benefits of shifting conservation district elections to be held on general election ballots. The study must include the following:
- An analysis of the amount of money that each conservation district spends on holding elections for supervisors under current law and a description of the funding sources that each conservation district utilizes to fund its elections;
- Information about voter turnout in each conservation district supervisor election in at least the past six years and up to the past 20 years, if the conservation district has such data, as well as a calculation of the total cost per ballot cast that each conservation district spent in those elections;
- A projection of the costs expected to be incurred by each county and each conservation district for its supervisor elections if the district were to hold its supervisor elections on general election ballots.
- A projection of the costs that would be expected to be incurred by each county and each conservation district for its supervisor elections if, in addition to the changes mentioned above, the conservation districts were divided into zones such that each zone is represented by a single supervisor, rather than electing each supervisor at-large throughout the district; and
- An overall description of potential nonmonetary costs and benefits associated with switching conservation district supervisor elections to the general election ballots and incorporating the abovementioned changes.
A preliminary report was originally due to the Legislature by December 1, 2023, and a final report was due by June 30, 2024. In June 2023, the WSIPP Board of Directors voted to shift the deadlines to December 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025.