Cost of Voter Identification


Photo of a stack of one dollar bills.Virtually all legislation that changes elections policy has some costs associated with implementation. NCSL’s "Cost of Voter Identification" explains these costs relating to strict voter ID laws. It is written for the layperson and is not intended to provide legal advice.

Legislators who are both proponents and opponents of strict voter identification requirements at polling places may find this document of use when considering new legislation. This document (completed June 2014) addresses government costs, not costs to individuals.

The document includes:

  • A discussion of the potential costs associated with voter ID implementation. Some are “universal” in that all states that adopt strict voter ID will face these. Others may be unique to certain states and circumstances.
  • Information on cost estimates — who does these and what do they take into consideration?
  • Information on who bears the cost of voter ID implementation — local jurisdictions are generally responsible for the costs of elections, but for voter ID implementation, states have often shared the costs related to voter education and outreach and sometimes more.

Additional Resources

For more information, email Wendy Underhill, NCSL Elections Program manager, or phone 303-364-7700.