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Election Administration: Election Spending

Reduce your election spending by minimizing the causes of error. For example, an incorrectly formated ballot paper may give rise to a variety of additional costs like new printing, paying for postage twice and increased administrative expenses. Using online ballots allows you to completely avoid the risk of having to print and post your ballots twice. Read more about your various options in creating an online ballot!

The election budget

The most important tool when planning your costs is a budget. An election budget lists the costs for the different parts of the election as determined by the election committee. An election budget for an organization's board election can be displayed clearly and easily in an Excel-table. However, it can also be more detailed and subdivided into several phases throughout the administration of the election.

What is included in the election budget?

In general, everything that is needed for the election should be included in the election budget – from paper costs to labour hours and telephone expenses. This will allow you to have a complete overview of your election expenses.

  • Marketing and advertising material costs, e.g. flyers, brochures, voting reminders, buttons, stickers, etc.
    • Production costs (draft, preparation, print)
    • Shipping charges (packing, postage)
  • Personnel costs for all people who are part of the election or expense allowance for external service providers
  • Premises and material expenses, e.g. renting space, polling booths, ballot boxes
  • Catering, e.g. refreshments for volunteers on election day or at meetings
  • Travel expenses, e.g. within different sites of a company or organization

You will discover that including a budget in the administration of your election is a simple exercise. It not only helps with organizing the present election, but can be used as a starting point for election officers in the future, who can adjust it according to their needs. 

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The "worst-case scenario"

Always be prepared for different outcomes. In your budget, be sure to account for scenarios which don't go to plan in case something goes wrong. To estimate the amount of this “buffer”, go through different election planning scenarios:

  • Best-case: what are the costs of the election if everything runs smoothly?
    Everything works as planned, no additional costs – your budget estimates turn out to be accurate.
  • Worst-case: what are the costs of the election if everything that can go wrong does go wrong?
    Flyers have to be re-printed; a candidate drops out, etc.

Employing these economic concepts of planning and prognosis will also help you to define a minimum and maximum amount that you'll spend on your election. By formulating your election budget in this way you will be prepared for anything!

POLYAS-Tip: The step towards digitalization gives you a transparent overview of your election spending. Request a non-binding quote from our digital election experts! 

Election spending - how to save

Comparing is useful
The starting point for every saver is comparing! Invest a good amount of time in researching the inputs into your election budget. If you manage to find a printing house which is cheaper than any other in the market, then your research has paid off.

Emails rather than first mail
Save postage and paper costs by sending messages and voting reminders via email. It's not only good for your finances but also for the environment.

Vote online – better than paper
A good alternative to cost-intensive ballot box elections are legally binding online voting systems. Online elections can save you all print and postage costs. Furthermore, vote counting is done with the click of a button! Kill two birds with one stone by offering location-independent voting and service the needs of modern voters.