Early voting has ended and no matter how many people cast their ballots, it still costs cities across the Rio Grande Valley thousands of dollars to run an election. That’s your tax dollars paying for it.
Right now, 6,500 people have voted before elections on Saturday, and with the city of Brownsville paying for the county to run the polls, the cost per vote varies.
“For the city of Brownsville, it’s about $188,000 is what we’ve estimated the cost of the election to be,” Remi Garza, Cameron County Elections administrator, said.
If you divide the total of early voters so far by the total number of registered voters, it costs the city almost $30 per vote so that Cameron County can run the May election as of right now.
“Whether we have one person or we have 10,000 people show up, we still have to go through the same process,” Garza said.
Some city governments, like McAllen, run their own polls. Others opt to pay their county election department to do it for them.
We reached out to the Hidalgo County Elections Department for their numbers, but we did not hear back.
“Some of the smaller communities maybe $20,000, and even the smaller ones maybe $10,000 to $12,000,” he said.
In Brownsville, if more than 100,000 registered voters cast their ballot, it’d bring the cost down substantially.
“If everybody who was registered to vote in Brownsville had participated, it would be roughly $2 a person. But when you’re looking at the percentage turnout that we’re seeing now, it could be as much as $10 a person,” Garza said.
Cost of personnel, the number of ballots needed and how many precincts there are in a city are all factors that come into play.
“You know, regardless these are built in costs,” Garza said.