Study: The Price of Voting (Machines) – Valuable, Timely, and Facinating

Last week, I moderated a discussion featuring the authors of The Price of Voting, a study of what jurisdictions actually pay for voting machines.

Five quick conclusions that I find relevant to Connecticut:

  1. If you are not getting about a 20% discount, you are paying too much.
  2. Most voting machines cost about the same, so you might be able to pick the most suited if all bids are actually competitive.
  3. Connecticut should plan on about $12,000,000 for the initial purchase and about 10% of that per year for maintenance.
  4. There are also costs beyond the initial purchase and subsequent maintenance.
  5. Plus Connecticut may spend an additional $5,000,000 for initial purchase of a machines intended for those with disabilities, and perhaps $3,000,000 for initial purchases of ePollbooks.

Valuable, timely, and fascinating.

It seems that most jurisdiction pay about 20% off. What about those that paid more, far more? Did officials get too enamored of one solution? Did vendor sales staff get too close to the officials making the decisions? Were too many officials former vendor employees?

Beyond equipment maintenance the ongoing costs are: payments to vendors for expensive proprietary ballot paper based on claims that other papers will not do; ballot printing; ballot programming; and other services provided by the vendor(s) in managing the election which are outsourced from officials.

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