The costs of running “dual” elections

One of the most common questions I am asked by officials contemplating early voting regards costs: how much money will we save–or spend–if we provide convenience voting options?

There is not a good answer to this question yet, but I think we’ll know a lot more in the next 12 months as some research projects in the field come to fruition.

This story out of St. Helena, Montana gives us a small insight into costs; keeping the precinct places open in an upcoming election rather than going fully vote by mail will cost over $13,000 per election. Divide that by turnout at the precinct place, and you have a nice estimate of the cost.