The price of democracy in 2004: US$4 billion, and that's not even counting all the ballots, poll workers and election lawyers.
Add the expenses borne by states and local government -- to be determined later -- and the price tag rises anywhere from hundreds of millions of dollars to possibly upward of US$1 billion more. In the business world, US$5 billion would be enough to pay for about 2,200 Super Bowl commercials, or educate about 30,000 students at Yale University, the alma mater of President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry.
Where did all the money go?
Congressional and presidential candidates alone devoted at least US$1.8 billion to their primary and general election campaigns, with about one-third of that spent by Bush and Kerry.
The Democratic and Republican parties and the host committees helping them spent about US$162 million on their nominating convention, including about US$29 million in taxpayer money.
In all, the two parties spent at least US$957 million this election cycle. Bush and Kerry also have millions to draw on in case of a presidential recount -- some US$78 million between the two politicians.