Minnesota Secretary Of State - 2017-2020 Equipment Grants
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2017-2020 Equipment Grants

Grant applications are now being accepted for Minnesota’s Voting Equipment Grants. The 2017 legislature authorized $7 million in grant funding available to counties, cities, towns, and school districts to assist with the purchase of voting equipment. The legislature authorized use of these funds to offset up to 50% of optical scan precinct counters, optical scan central counters, or assisted voting devices; or up to 75% of electronic rosters. See Minn. Laws. 2017, 1st Spec. Sess., Chap. 4, Art. 3 § 17.

Jurisdictions wishing to submit an application for grant funds must do so by December 15, 2017.

Download the equipment grant application (Microsoft Word) or a sample completed application (PDF).

If you have questions about the application or the grant process, you may contact Brad Anderson at bradley.k.anderson@state.mn.us or (651) 556-0642.

Important Dates for the Grant Application

  • December 15, 2017: Applications must be received by the OSS by 4 p.m.
  • January 31, 2018: Grants will be awarded with across the board reductions if more requests are received than funds available
  • February to March 2018: Grant contracts signed and returned, funds provided to jurisdictions
  • February 2018 to August 2019: Equipment purchased
  • December 31, 2019: Funds must be encumbered; any unencumbered funds must be returned to the OSS.
  • March 1, 2020: Unused funds must be returned to the OSS.
  • March 2020 to April 2020: Possible second round of grants from unused/returned funds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How are the grant amounts determined?

A: Grant amounts are determined based on the number of precincts used for the November 2016 State General Election (4,120 statewide). OSS has determined the maximum possible grant to be awarded would be $5,000 per precinct. If the applications submitted exceed the $7 million allocated by the legislature, which seems likely, this amount will be proportionally reduced. At a minimum, the awarded grant would be proportionally reduced down to $1,699 per precinct if every county applied for the grant.

The number of precincts is only used to determine the maximum grant amount for the jurisdiction. Applicants will decide on how much of the grant to apply to the various equipment types. By law, the grant may only be used for up to 50% of optical scan precinct counters, optical scan central counters, or assisted voting devices; or for up to 75% of electronic rosters.

Q: What equipment is covered by the grant?

A: The grant may only be used the purchase of optical scan precinct counters, optical scan central counters, assisted voting devices, or electronic rosters. The grant may not be used for optional software/equipment such as ballot programming, electronic results reporting, etc. The local government will need to fund the remainder of any purchases.

Q: Does a local government need formal authorization to apply for a grant?

A: For counties, a county board resolution approving the application for the grant funds must be attached to a county grant application. For municipalities and school districts, a resolution from the city council, town board, or school board approving the application for grant funds is required, as well as a letter from the county auditor agreeing to assist the municipality/school district in use of the equipment must be attached to a municipality or school district application.

Q: Is a local government required to purchase equipment off of the State Cooperative Purchasing Contract?

A: No. Local governments are permitted, but not required to purchase from the state contract. A local government may use grant funds for the allowed equipment based on its own purchasing process.