San Diego will drop an estimated $4 million to elect its new mayor next week.
A hefty price tag is pretty standard for special elections, it seems. Last year’s three special races cost the city on average about $25.95 per voter. Compare that to the 42 cents per voter it paid in the November 2012 election.
Why are these unexpected elections so expensive to pull off? Our love of convenience is part of the answer. Voters are more likely to use mail-in ballots than to show up at polling places, but the County Registrar of Voters still has to open and staff physical polls on Election Day. That makes up about two-thirds of the cost.
NBC 7’s Catherine Garcia and Voice of San Diego’s Lisa Halverstadt break it down further — with the help of baked goods — in this edition of San Diego Explained.