Officials are asking legislators how they want to hold future elections — by mail, by paper ballot or electronically — because that may make a difference of millions of dollars in replacing old voting machines. Mark Thomas, state elections director for Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, said a committee is now studying options for replacing machines statewide that are nearing the end of their lifespans. A recommendation is expected early next year. But Thomas asked the Government Operations Interim Committee for some guidance on Wednesday. If the state helps to buy new electronic machines to conduct traditional, in-person elections with new machines at hundreds of polling places statewide, it would cost an estimated $10 million to $15 million, he said. But if the state moves to vote mostly by mail, the cost would be much less — $2.2 million to $3.2 million — for fewer high-speed optical scanners to count paper ballots.