| Secretary of State Steve Simon announced that his office has awarded $7 million to counties and cities to assist with the purchase of new voting equipment. |
In 2017, Secretary Simon’s push to replace Minnesota’s aging election equipment was signed into law with broad bipartisan support. The legislature authorized $7 million in grant funding to assist with the purchase of new voting equipment. It provides up to a 50 percent match for mandatory equipment, such as optical scan precinct counters, optical scan central counters, or assistive voting devices; and up to a 75 percent match for electronic rosters. The bill was authored by Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) and Sen. Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake).
The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State received grant applications from 85 counties and 17 municipalities, for a total request of nearly $13.3 million—nearly double the $7 million of available grant matching funds. Of these jurisdictions, 59 requested $5,097,051.17 in matching funds for electronic rosters and 97 requested $8,199,605.78 in matching funds for mandatory equipment.
The list of grant requests by and awards to local jurisdictions:
Blue Earth $100,332.76
“This is an important step for election integrity by ensuring that voting equipment is up to the standards Minnesotans expect,” said Secretary Simon. “However, local governments requested nearly double the amount of available funds. It is clear that replacing our state’s aging election equipment is an ongoing need.”
The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State made grant applications available to counties, cities, towns, and school districts starting on Sept. 6, 2017. Applications were due by 4 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2017.
Other Important Dates for the Grant Application:
Feb. – March 2018: Grant contracts signed and returned, funds provided to jurisdictions
Feb. 2018 – Aug. 2019: Equipment purchased
Aug. 31, 2019: Unused funds must be returned to Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
Sept. – Dec. 2019: Possible second round of grants from unused/returned funds
June 30, 2020: Unused second round funds must be returned to Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
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