Cost

The original article 22 of town meeting 2010 was submitted with an intention to purchase an electronic voting system. After having access to the free trial of April 2011, the ELVIS committee considered carefully the pro's and con's between purchase and lease. It turns out that leasing the equipment is a much more viable option for a town who has OPEN town meeting. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Its best to have the technology vendor actually put on the entire show and make sure that all systems are up and running as smoothly as possible. Since electronic voting equipment is used during two meeting stretches per year - it would be difficult for town employees and volunteers to maintain such a high level of expertise.

2. By having the technology vendor take 'turn-key' responsibility we don't have to worry about details such as keypad / equipment storage, battery changing and the details of setup wiring, equipment maintenance and tear down.

3. Since we don't own the equipment we are always able to lease the most current technology - whenever those technology changes are available.

4. Even without all of this extra responsibility, we still get to recommend improvements and have already done so.

Leasing the electronic voting show in total is the way to go.

This means that the cost of the electronic voting includes:

1. Keypads, receivers, welcome stations, setup wiring, teardown wiring, software and

2. Key expertise in the form of people who come here to run the equipment and the show.

3. We can help to minimize our costs by (a) having volunteers help with check-in and check-out and (b) try to always get better at predicting the minimum number of keypads to order which is the primary parameter that drives the equipment and personnel leasing costs.

As an example: If a town meeting lasts 3 days then there is a 'first day' of that meeting and there are 2 'additional days'. If a town meeting lasts 3 days and one day is on a Thursday and the second day of town meeting is on a Monday then there are three 'off days' (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and each 'off day' has a cost of $1,000.

There is a tradeoff between how many consequtive days town meeting is held and how many days we pay for 'off days'. In general, people do like to take some breaks between town meeting sessions and therefore, we should understand that the cost of 'off days' are part of doing business to get the benefits of using this technology.

Wayland has OPEN town meeting. This means that any registered voter can attend any session or all sessions of town meeting. The largest hall access Wayland has is the High School field house which has a fire occupancy of 2,000. Rarely does town meeting ever approach that figure. Two town meetings in recent past have drawn that type of audience. (1) The original zoning approval of the Wayland Town Center project; (2) the funding approval of the new Wayland High School.

More typically our OPEN town meeting has had attendance of 800 or less. However, its important to always have enough keypads for all who want to attend. We always have some margin over what we order but if we break that then we risk not using the technology and reverting back to the older methods of vote counting for that town meeting session.

So there is another tradeoff. We strive to make sure we always have enough keypads. If we believe that the attendance will be 500 then we will order more than that. The incremental cost is not huge so its a good plan to make sure we always have enough keypads and so that we don't have to revert. ELVIS has procedures in place to continue to collect data to improve attendance prediction. But its NOT an exact science. We feel its better to over-estimate rather than under-estimate.

Note that the number of welcome stations ordered will change the price per day by $1,000 per welcome station per day.

If we apply the previous leasing price list (above) to our last April town meeting 2013 and also project a fall town meeting 2013 being two days with one 'off day' and attended by no more than 800 citizens we get:

1. The cost for electronic voting at the April 2013 town meeting was predicted to be $44,000 but was actually invoiced at $37,154. Wayland gets a discount based on its 3 year leasing agreement with OTI.

2. The projected cost for electronic voting at the *possible* fall town meeting (as described above) would be $26,000

The total of these two costs for 2013 is projected to be $63,000.

One of the major reasons for the creation of this website is to show you the details and analysis you need to know in order to understand the benefits that our town meeting gets for the dollars we spend for the technology.

The cost of the equipment is paid for by the taxpayers. With about 13,000 residents we have about 10,000 taxpayers.

The benefits of using this equipment for our town meeting transfer to the benefit of all taxpayers. Decisions at town meeting affect all residents of our town. Today and into the future.

In fact, the cost of this technology is spread amoung all of the taxpayers but for calculation purposes we used a number equal to the registered voters since those are the people who can attend if that chose to do so.

In 2013, the cost of electronic voting is about $7.30 per registered voter and this covers both town meetings and all projected sessions of town meeting.

If more people attend town meeting then we will need to lease a larger number of keypads and welcome stations and personnel. The cost of electronic voting will go up but this is good news. Its good news because the point is to have more people participate in the decision making for all of us. It makes sense that more people will want to attend a town meeting where the voting is faster, where the voting is accurate and where the voting is private.

In May 2012,(Article 31)was presented to the citizens as a resolution to have the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee provide electronic voting for all town meetings and all sessions of town meeting for a period of 3 years. We are now within the first 1.5 years of this resolution.

It was predicted in that article presentation that electronic voting would cost $9 to $10 per registered voter per year.

Latest Data Now in!

The actual cost of electronic voting in Wayland over the past 3 years comes in at $6.76 per registered voter per year.

ElectronicVoting.info 2013