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Events Center: Lowest Cost Per Vote?

November 7, 2011, 6:20 AM by Austin Hoffman

Events Center: Lowest Cost Per Vote?
SIOUX FALLS, SD - We've been hearing about it for quite some time and it might be the largest election the city of Sioux Falls has ever seen.

Surprisingly, Tuesday's proposed events center vote could actually end up being one of the city cheapest if you look at it from one angle.

While it's going to cost around $5,000 more than the mayoral runoff election last April, Tuesday's vote will actually cost less per voter than nearly any in the city's past.

To build? Or not to build?. It's been the question on everyone's mind for more than a year. The city is expecting a near-record, or record turnout for the decision. But to understand the cost of this election, we have to look into the past.

In 2005, the city held a special election on weather to build a rec center.

"The cost of the election was just over $32,000 and there was a 23 percent turnout.  And when you calculate the cost per voter, it comes out to about $1.74," interim city clerk Sue Roust said. 

Roust says it's the most expensive per-vote election in the recent past. She says last year's mayoral runoff election cost the city around $47,000 and had a 35 percent turnout.

"The cost per voter was about $1.46," Roust said.

That’s nearly 30 cents less than in 2005.

"Times 32,000 voters, that’s a fairly significant number," Roust said.

Almost $10,000, actually. And with some 40,000 people expected to visit the polls on Tuesday, the cost per-voter, could be even cheaper.

"We're expecting the cost of this election to be somewhere in the, maybe $52,000 range. If that is the case, that’s going to come out to about $1.30 a voter," Roust said.

That's more than 40 cents cheaper than in 2005 and around 15 cents cheaper per-voter than last year's election. So this time around, even though it’s going to have the highest overall cost, the city will get the most for its money out of Tuesday's election.

"An election is hard work to put together. You bring in a lot of people; you get a lot of preparation done. It's certainly far more satisfying if we see a high number of people participate," Roust said.

The highest voter turnout the city ever had was in 1985 when Sioux Falls citizens voted on a downtown convention center.

"It was a $10 million issue and it was voted down. That one had almost a 45 percent turnout. I think we have the potential to match that," Roust said.

The city wants to make sure you know that you need to go to your regular poling place tomorrow, unlike the one this Spring. To find out where to vote, visit the Secretary of State's website.

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