Online voting VS paper voting: savings and sustainability

Paper-based in-person voting involves significant expenses in printing ballots and engaging election representatives at polling stations. In contrast, online voting reduces paper consumption and simplifies the voting process, generating significant time and financial savings.

Online voting VS paper voting

Voting is mainly conducted through paper ballots and ballot boxes, in the presence of election representatives. However, in recent years, online voting has become increasingly popular in public and private bodies, offering eligible voters a convenient and accessible alternative to traditional systems.

But what is the difference between paper-based in-person voting and online voting? Let’s look at the differences between these two voting modes from the perspective of savings and sustainability.

Paper ballot

In-person paper voting requires the printing of a large quantity of ballots, which are then often disposed of in an unsustainable manner. In addition, the preparation and management of statutory voting requires a great deal of logistical effort and the presence of election representatives at the designated polling stations or voting points. This process is certainly onerous and involves the use of many resources, both human and financial.

Online voting

On the other hand, online voting requires only an Internet connection and a device such as a computer or smartphone; this greatly reduces the amount of paper used, energy consumption, and reduced CO2 emissions due to transfers to the often-displaced polling stations.

In addition, online voting can be centrally managed from a single platform, making the entire voting process, the setup of the election event, more streamlined and simple, especially for administrators. The convenience of online voting is thus unquestionable since it does not force people to travel to a polling station and eligible voters are able to cast their votes without necessarily having to travel or wait for hours for their turn.

Digitization process

Realizing these advantages, many organizations have embarked on a process of digitizing their voting and assemblies, finding significant savings in set-up and management time, a significant reduction in costs and resources associated with the election/assembly event, and most importantly, simplification in pre, during and post-event management of elections while ensuring maximum security and voting legality.

Through the experiences and feedback of Eligo customers , we calculated the time and cost savings of online voting vs. in-person paper voting for elections of 200, 500, and over 1000 voters, focusing on the days scheduled pre, during, and after voting, the cost of staff involved, and cost items such as those of postage for communications to voters and printing of ballots.

Here are the results of the comparison between paper-based in-person voting and (only) online voting:

Paper ballot200 voters500 voters1000 voters
N. Days spent managing all phases pre, during and post vote111325
Staff cost2.750 €3.250 €6.250 €
Other costs (printing ballots, postage, room rentals…).2.084 €3.906 €10.630 €
Total4.834 €7.156 €16.880 €
Online voting200 voters500 voters1000 voters
N. Days spent managing all phases through Eligo234
Staff cost500 €750 €1000 €
Eligo software license cost306 €493 €770 €
Total806 €1.243 €1.770 €

N.B. Through an electronic and online voting platform, it is still possible to conduct in-person or hybrid voting and assemblies. What changes is the digitization of the entire election process and the expression of votes for eligible voters through their own devices or devices provided by the organization.