This was contributed by Brian Olson
Which is cheaper, manual vote vounting, or machine vote counting? The answer may surprise you. Type your assumptions into the slots, hit "submit," and see what conclusions result. (The numbers shown are for our default assumptions and the conclusion they lead to.) Note: this calculator is somewhat incomplete in that it does not include maintenance, testing, transport, and storage costs for the machines, nor does it include training costs for the people (and on the other hand, people have to be trained to use the machines...). When entering numbers, keep in mind that with human counting, ballots often have to be counted by more than one human as part of "don't trust you" protocols.
A machine must last at least 7.5 elections to break even vs. hand counted ballots
and possibly as many as 685.714285714286 .
Human cost per ballot counted $0.0583333333333333-$0.333333333333333.
Santa Barbara, CA example (in 2001):
$1,300,000 spent on a 200-machine system to count 100,000 votes per election.
Try $6500 per machine, counting 500 votes each.
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