Q: Should a bishop kiss the altar at the beginning of the Rite of Election when it is celebrated without mass?
A: The liturgical books are not precise enough for this ceremony apart from mass to answer that question.
But in the Ceremonial of Bishops when a bishop presides for a Celebration of Evening Prayer on Major Solemnities, he does kiss the altar before going to his chair (196). Since evening prayer does not include mass, I think that that makes a good comparison to what happens at the Rite of Election. I vote in favor of kissing the altar.