Minnesota Secretary Of State - Voting Equipment
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Voting Equipment


Minnesota voters always cast their vote on paper ballots, but special equipment often helps to count ballots, mark ballots, and sign in and register voters.

Equipment in Use

Ballot Tabulators

All ballot tabulators used in Minnesota are optical scan, so they “read” the ballot and record a vote for each candidate that has their target (usually an oval) filled in on the ballot. Equipment is usually designed for use in a polling place, as a central counter, or both. Central count devices typically can handle higher volumes and may be used to count polling place ballots, absentee ballots, mail ballots, or some combination. Equipment currently used includes:

  • Dominion ImageCast Central (central count)
  • Dominion ImageCast Evolution (polling place)
  • ES&S Digital Scan 200 (polling place & central count)
  • ES&S Digital Scan 450 (central count)
  • ES&S Digital Scan 850 (central count)
  • ES&S Model 100 (polling place & central count)
  • Hart Verity Central (central count)
  • Hart Verity Scan (polling place)

Other tabulators have been used in the past. In addition, some precincts in the state are still counted by hand. View a map of ballot tabulators used in the 2018 general election.

Assistive Voting Equipment

With a few exceptions, federal law requires that all polling places must have equipment which allows private and independent voting for voters with disabilities. Assistive voting devices fulfill this role. They are separate pieces of equipment from the tabulators, and do not actually tally votes but merely help a voter mark an optical scan ballot. This equipment includes:

  • ES&S AutoMark
  • Dominion ImageCast Evolution
  • Hart Verity TouchWriter

Additional information about this equipment and its capabilities is on the Ballot Marking Machine webpage.

Electronic Pollbooks

Some polling places in Minnesota use electronic pollbooks (also known as ePollbooks) instead of paper rosters. Electronic pollbooks are used to check in registered voters and also to assist in the election day registration process. Only one kind of electronic pollbook is used currently:

  • KNOWiNK Poll Pad

Equipment Testing

Minnesota election administrators use a number of procedures to ensure equipment will accurately record valid votes. Equipment is approved by the state, tested locally before elections, and the results audited after elections.

Certification

Before being certified for use in Minnesota, all voting equipment must be tested and certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, verified by test labs, and undergo detailed testing by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.

Pre-Election Testing

Before every election, local election officials test all equipment to be used in that election. For the preliminary testing, ballots are marked with assistive voting devices, a set of pre-marked ballots is fed into the ballot tabulators, and the machine's totals are compared with the pre-determined results. Some equipment is also tested at a Public Accuracy Test shortly before the election. Public Accuracy Tests are open to the public—contact your local election official to find the time and location of their next scheduled test.

Post-Election Reviews

After each state general election, counties randomly draw a set of precincts where they audit the results from the ballot tabulators. In the audit, votes for certain offices are counted by hand, and that total is compared with the machine-counted results from election night. Read more information on Post Election Reviews.

Learn about how elections work in Minnesota