ATLANTA (WSAV) — Tuesday is Georgia’s Senate run-off and with four days to go both campaigns are out in full swing to win your vote.
The candidates have raised more than $200 million for political ads according to OpenSecrets, an organization that tracks spending.
So, how much do the elections cost taxpayers?
Georgia has had several elections since the 2020 presidential elections including the January 2021 run-off elections, plus four elections this year alone.
“We are talking about holding a whole separate election across the entire state, which means, even though there is just one — in this case — one race on the ballot, that they have to every precinct up and running, they have to have the early voting and then every precinct up and running and those precincts have to be manned,” Alan Abramowitz said. “So clearly there are very significant costs involved.”
Voting experts said last year’s senate run-off election cost taxpayers $10 million.
“There are almost 3,000 voting precincts in Georgia, those are manned and staffed,” political analyst, Bill Crane said. “There are 159 counties in Georgia, those are manned and staffed.”
Political experts said each election requires staff to prepare and process paper ballots.
“The precinct locations open, the poll workers are paid something,” Abramowitz said. “There are costs involved in preparing the equipment,” Abramowitz said.
“The state has stepped in and provided more funding, is that no county is budgeting for a statewide runoff,” Crane said.
Voting experts said the bulk of the funding for elections is to train poll workers and keep offices open for voters.
“We now pay a lot more of our poll workers who used to be volunteers,” Crane said. “We now have more secretary of state’s office observers and investigators in the field and the state legislature created a GBI investigative unit for election fraud unit that didn’t even exist in the last session. So each and everyone one of those is a cost.”
Some states like Alaska and Maine use an instant-run off or rank choice voting which reduces voters to show up at the polls twice and eliminates the need for a run-off election.
Incumbent Raphael Warnock holds a slight one-point lead over Republican Herschel Walker according to an Emerson College poll. You can check your designated polling precinct for Tuesday’s run-off at IWillVote.com.