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First Formal Step to Replace Aging Election Equipment Now Available

September 19, 2017

Deadline for jurisdictions to submit grant applications to purchase new voting equipment is Dec. 15, 2017

SAINT PAUL — Today, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon announced that his office is now accepting grant applications to assist with the purchase of new voting equipment—the first formal step that counties, cities, towns and school districts, which need assistance, can take to replace aging election equipment.

Earlier this year, Secretary Simon’s push to replace Minnesota’s aging election equipment was signed into law. 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 assisted 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 deadline for jurisdictions to submit an application for grant funds is Dec. 15, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. The applications are available HERE and a sample completed application is available HERE. For additional information and Q&A on the grant application process, click here.

“It is critical that we ensure voting equipment is up to the standards Minnesotans expect and I encourage all counties, cities, towns and school districts to consider this available resource,” said Secretary Simon. “My office expects local jurisdictions to request more than $7 million in grant funding available, which is why I will continue to work with the legislature to address this pressing need and ensure voting equipment works properly and consistently in precincts all around the state.”

Grant amounts will be determined based on the number of precincts used for the November 2016 State General Election (4,120 precincts statewide). The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State determined that the maximum possible grant that could be awarded would be $5,000 per precinct. If the applications submitted exceed the $7 million allocated by the legislature, which the Office believes is likely, this amount will be proportionally reduced. At a minimum, if every county applied, the awarded grant would be $1,699 per precinct.

Important Dates for the Grant Application:

  • Dec. 15, 2017: Applications must be received by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State by 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 31, 2018: Grants will be awarded with across the board reductions if requests exceed the funds available
  • 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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