Election Costs $ – Democracy? Priceless!

We have said that conducting elections cost from $5.00 to $20.00 per ballot cast and that our estimate of $0.20 to $0.50 for an audit is a small price to pay to assure that the votes are counted as the voters intended. But the news from Norwalk indicates we may need to revise the high-end cost of running an election upwards from that $20.00. <read>

“Everybody has their right to have a primary, but they should consider the costs and if they really statistically have a chance to win,” said Betty Bondi, Democratic registrar of voters in Norwalk, where 6.3 percent of registered Democrats voted.

Bondi said the primary will cost Norwalk taxpayers about $50,000 by the time the bills get sorted – all that for a contest in which Himes got 899 votes and Whitnum got 70

The calculation is $50,000 / (899 + 70) = $51.59 per ballot cast to run the election, totally dwarfing the cost of a strong, effective post-election audit.

A story earlier this week highlighted complaints of high barriers by third-party candidates. Today’s article features complaints from election officials of barriers being too low for primary challengers.

We cannot help but agree with one comment from Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz:

Lopsided results and low turnouts must be put in perspective, Bysiewicz said.

“Sometimes democracy costs money,” she said

We would add that the costs of the peoples’ intention not being followed can be trillions of dollars and thousands of lives, no matter how you look at it, Red, Blue or Green. The value of Democracy? Priceless!


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