Cost of additional pandemic measures – CEO Appearance on the Special Report of the Chief Electoral Officer: Administering an Election during the COVID-19 Pandemic
A general election (GE) will cost significantly more during a pandemic. Costs will depend on the timing of the election and the nature of any legislative changes adopted.
The additional costs for safety material (e.g. masks, hand sanitizer, etc.), adjustments to the vote-by-mail system, and a voter information safety campaign, are estimated to be approximately $50 million.
Estimates for other measures, such as the addition of a second polling day and the adjustment of staffing levels at the polls, will be available at a later date, once plans are fully developed.
While most measures currently being proposed for a pandemic election will come with a cost (see table below), a few proposals may generate cost savings, such as not offering additional service points on campuses and having only a single poll worker at each voting table. Nonetheless, it is expected that the pandemic-related changes will generate a net cost increase to the general election.
A full costing exercise for the next general election will be completed once plans are fully developed, including the possibility of legislative changes.
The cost estimates available at this time are for safety material, special ballot vote-by-mail and the voter information safety campaign (as described below).
Cost of additional pandemic measures
High Level Estimate ($M)
Masks (25 million)
Hand sanitizer 500ml (833 thousand)
Gloves XL (25 million)
Pencils (16 million Regular, 4 million Large)
Headsets (11 thousand)
Face shields (411 thousand)
Bottle of 160 wipes (40 thousand)
Mail-out of ballot kits and pre-paid returns (5.5 million)