If Calgary’s returning officer gets her way, the next election night will still be all about the hands — the poll staff manually counting ballots, and the candidates chewing their nails as they await the slow trickle of results. Barb Clifford will recommend Monday that council avoid joining other large Canadian cities that electronically count votes, because she worries it’s a prohibitive expense.
“It’s pretty hard to justify $3.4 million for something that will be used one night every three or maybe four years,” she said Wednesday, after a report on vote-counting machines was released.
Buying machines for all city poll stations would cost at least $2.6 million, on top of the $750,000 cost of specialized ballot printing, staff training and advertising the changes for the 2013 election, according to the report.
Clifford is proposing to buy a smaller quantity of machines, however, to count votes from citywide advance stations and for mail-in ballots. That would cost up to $675,000.