There is limited literature available on this topic. A lot of the information that is available only provides the cost of certain elements of the election, mainly in relation to voter registration. In addition, there appear to be inconsistencies in the costings provided by the available sources.
The most comprehensive source currently available is “CORE: A Global Survey on the Cost of Registration and Elections”, produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). It is a guide to election processes relating to registration and cost of elections around the world, including examples from conflict-affected and fragile states.
The report includes case studies of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Libya and Sierra Leone.
Key issues to consider in relation to the cost of elections in fragile states include:
- Elections tend to cost more in fragile states due to integrity costs (López-Pintor & Fischer, 2006). Integrity costs relate to creating the conditions for a safe, free and fair election, through both voter and ballot security (López-Pintor & Fischer, 2006, p.15-18).
- Integrity costs will decrease as countries become more democratic (López-Pintor & Fischer, 2006, p.23).
- In a country which has not experienced a democratic election in decades, such as Afghanistan, costs are driven up by the need to create an election infrastructure and to educate and inform the electorate (López-Pintor & Fischer, 2006, p.31).