elections, Kenya, vote, voter

How much should an election cost?

Kenya: Lavish Spending in Poll Budget (All Africa)

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission budget for the next general elections proposes spending at least Sh3,000 ($35.25) on each of the estimated 18 million voters who will participate in the next election.

This is just one of the expenses listed in the Sh35 billion budget that the IEBC is asking taxpayers to finance. If the proposed budget is granted, it would make the next elections the most expensive ever held in any stable democracy in the world. Post conflict election budget benchmark is pegged at between $10 and $30 (Sh850 and Sh2,550) per person. India, considered one of the world’s largest democracies spent $1 (Sh85) on each of its 600 million voters.

Kenya’s next general election would therefore be the most expensive poll exercise ever conducted on earth. The IEBC is asking for another Sh35 billion in addition to the Sh7.5 bn already allocated making a grand total of Sh42.5 billion.

A lot goes into an election: poll worker training, communication with the electorate, printing, transportation, registration, etc. What an election costs will depend upon how much work from the past can be reused for in the present.

Still, $35.25 per voter does seem pretty expensive. Granted, it’s not the $40 per voter floated by Zimbabwe in 2011.

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