The Price of Democracy: Splitting the bill for elections
New report from the National Conference of State Legislatures

By Wendy Underhill, National Conference of State Legislatures and
Katy Owens Hubler, Democracy Research, LLC.

“The cost is one of the most important aspects of the problem of election administration. It is, of course, secondary to honesty, accuracy, and the convenience of the electors, but nevertheless is of great importance.”

—Joseph P. Harris, Ph.D., "Election Administration in the United States," 1934

This new NCSL report, “The Price of Democracy: Splitting the Bill for Elections,” is the result of two years of studying all things related to elections and costs, addressing questions such as:  What are the costs associated with running elections? What state policy choices relate to costs? What funding mechanisms are in use in the states? Can money buy security?

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from our work on election costs is this: Money matters.

Not that money is the only factor when making decisions about election policy. There’s also turnout, reliability, accessibility, accuracy and a host of other values. Democracy is not a place for cutting corners.

Here are 10 more takeaways for legislators and other policymakers: Read more…