Elections cost money, mostly in the form of tax dollars. There is no way around this. Although we may not be able to completely eliminate the cost of elections, online voting is the key to increased bureaucratic efficiency and greatly reduced election board expenditures.
Current Cost Savings
Currently we are not devoting much time or focus to saving money on elections. Follow My Vote has embarked on a research project to calculate and publicize the cost of elections. Several states are spending over $5 per ballot. You can hover over your state on our interactive map to find out how much your state is spending per ballot.
One of the highest cost records we have come across so far for election in 2012 was for Ohio. According to an Ohio Open Records Law request that Follow My Vote made, the total expenses summed to $18,173,000. This number includes expenses related to maintaining offices, organizing elections, and postage. The total also accounts for expenditures on primary, general, and special elections.
Online Voting Cost Savings
Printing ballots can be a heavy election expense and in many states election registrars must print ballots for every registered voter. Some states such as Oregon have moved to a complete vote by mail system. With an online voting system, the possibilities for cost savings are limitless. Ballots do not need to be printed. Voters simply submit their ballot online. And with Follow My Vote, citizens can actually check and make sure their vote was cast correctly without needing any physical receipt. Voting machines, which are expensive to purchase and to maintain, become unnecessary with online voting. Voting machines, along with associated software contracts and IT maintenance, cost thousands of dollars and typically a single polling places houses several machines. Not only are voting machines expensive, they are also vulnerable to hacking.
Follow My Vote estimates that we can reduce the cost of any election by at least 50% to 60%. Please contact us to get an estimate for your respective government or organization.
Tax Dollars Can Be Re-purposed
With the cost savings of switching to an online voting system, states can re-purpose money for areas such as job stimulation and transportation or education infrastructure.