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Cost of additional pandemic measuresCEO Appearance on the Special Report of the Chief Electoral Officer: Administering an Election during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Fact Sheet

Key Messages

  • A general election (GE) will cost significantly more during a pandemic. Costs will depend on the timing of the election and the nature of any legislative changes adopted.
  • The additional costs for safety material (e.g. masks, hand sanitizer, etc.), adjustments to the vote-by-mail system, and a voter information safety campaign, are estimated to be approximately $50 million.
  • Estimates for other measures, such as the addition of a second polling day and the adjustment of staffing levels at the polls, will be available at a later date, once plans are fully developed.


  • While most measures currently being proposed for a pandemic election will come with a cost (see table below), a few proposals may generate cost savings, such as not offering additional service points on campuses and having only a single poll worker at each voting table. Nonetheless, it is expected that the pandemic-related changes will generate a net cost increase to the general election. 
  • A full costing exercise for the next general election will be completed once plans are fully developed, including the possibility of legislative changes.
  • The cost estimates available at this time are for safety material, special ballot vote-by-mail and the voter information safety campaign (as described below).
Cost of additional pandemic measures
Item (Qty) High Level Estimate ($M)
Masks (25 million) 15.7
Hand sanitizer 500ml (833 thousand) 13.3
Gloves XL (25 million) 1.6
Pencils (16 million Regular, 4 million Large) 1.4
Headsets (11 thousand) 1.3
Face shields (411 thousand) 1.2
Bottle of 160 wipes (40 thousand) 0.7
Additional Signage 0.3
Material 35.5
Mail-out of ballot kits and pre-paid returns (5.5 million) 10.9
Envelopes 0.9
Special Ballot Vote by Mail Services 11.8
Voter Information Safety Campaign 3.1
Total to Date 50.4