Massachusetts Dispatch: Projecting Elections Costs

Return to Election Data Dispatches.

The 2009/2010 Massachusetts special elections that elected U.S. Senator Scott Brown cost approximately $7.8 million. The state auditor’s office had estimated the cost would be close to $7.2 million.

Why was the estimate so close to the mark? In 1983, the state mandated that polling places run for an additional three hours to ensure uniformity across the state in non-local elections. In accordance with the Local Mandate Law, the legislature funds the first three hours while municipalities fund the remainder.

Because of this mandate, the auditor’s office has a 26-year history of collecting data to cost out the first three hours of an election—every biennial election since 1984. Since the majority of elections costs are primarily personnel-driven, and thus predictable year to year, data-driven estimates based on this history are usually not too far off.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.