Election Costs

The Voter's Choice Act, which was first implemented in June 2018, required the County to make a set of one-time purchases to transition it away from the traditional polling place model. To better understand the cost of elections under this model of election administration, the Voter's Choice Act requires participating counties to provide a report that compares the cost of elections conducted under the VCA to the cost of previous elections (Elec. Code § 4005(g)(2)).

Below, we compare the cost of regularly scheduled elections in Nevada County since 2016--the last election cycle that Nevada County conducted traditional polling place voting. Nevada County Elections activities are funded by the County General Fund. The Elections Department generates revenue from elections and campaign services, which include candidate filing fees, special and school district charges, and voter data fees. Nevada County is also eligible for several state reimbursements. All elections-specific revenue is returned to the County General Fund.

To calculate the cost of elections, our team added the actual receipts for every category appearing below (shown in the table in white) and subtracted the amount the Elections Office returned to the County General Fund (shown in the table in light gray). State reimbursements were applied for the year that an actual purchase was made.

Since adopting the VCA, the price per voter in Nevada County has decreased due to greater efficiencies in labor and the streamlined nature of elections under the Voter's Choice Act model. The cost per voter dropped in November 2020 due to the availability of federal relief to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This is not an exhaustive report of elections costs, but rather a snapshot in time that compares sets of elections that occurred before and after the County's adoption of the VCA. Our team is working to develop a more comprehensive dataset and will update this report as we collect more information.


Cost per voter since 2016


June 2016 PrimaryNov 2016 GeneralJune 2018 PrimaryNov 2018 GeneralMar 2020 PrimaryNov 2020 General
Printing*$209,537.96$211,746.42$196,086.36$360,476.04$182,873.86$263,353.07
Labor**$254,217.88$311,293.80$305,548.59$333,849.64$177,623.70$299,179.37
Rental$3,525.66$3,686.96$5,752.73$6,430.99$9,315.00$16,112.79
Postage$34,989.87$36,626.60$75,217.99$51,632.89$27,714.11$49,001.78
Elections Supplies/Misc.$137,192.72$140,172.67$229,054.06$161,883.35$84,938.10$162,728.24
Election Services***$28,515.67$164,460.51$31,655.04$373,407.02$12,042.12$294,240.87
Reimbursements from State$9,888.00$12,370.00$35,000.00$0.00$46,383.65$133,706.07
Filing Fees$13,327.77$17,540.49$58,888.46$29,466.84$23,032.42$38,684.44
Vendor Services/Misc.$2,054.70$49,049.93$2,230.43$3,305.83$1,025.60$2,314.60
Raw Total$639,464.09$703,526.45$811,659.73$914,272.91$482,464.77$790,375.25
Total Reimbursements$53,786.14$243,420.93$127,773.93$406,179.69$82,483.79$468,945.98
Total Cost$585,677.95$460,105.52$683,885.80$508,093.22$399,980.98$321,429.27







Registered voters66,17868,82968,02368,86968,38275,123
Turnout45,16756,80038,79254,99646,27565,800
%Turnout68.25%82.52%57.03%79.86%67.67%87.59%
Cost per registered voter$8.85$6.68$10.05$7.38$5.85$4.28
Cost per voter who voted$12.97$8.10$17.63$9.24$8.64$4.88


*Printing costs include the cost of printing ballots and elections materials such as the County Voter Information Guide, vote center paper materials, and required household mailings. 

**Labor costs include permanent and temporary employees, and vote center workers

***Election Services are provided to school and special districts that request to consolidate their elections with regularly scheduled county and statewide elections. Under California law, districts that request elections services are required to reimburse counties for election costs.