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$7 million in grants to replace election equipment

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ST. PAUL — As part of a national effort to replace aging election equipment ahead of the 2020 elections, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon announced Monday that his office has awarded $7 million to counties and cities in Minnesota to assist with the purchase of new voting equipment.

Simon's goal of replacing Minnesota's aging election equipment was given bipartisan support in 2017 with the legislature authorizing the grants that will serve as up to a 50 percent match in funding mandatory replacement of election machines such as optical scan counters at both precinct and higher levels, and assisted voting devices.

Eighty-five counties and 17 cities across Minnesota submitted grant applications to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State for a total of $13.3 million. Of the $7 million awarded across the state, eight counties in Southeast Minnesota received $616,860.69 in funding.

"This is an important step for election integrity by ensuring that voting equipment is up to the standards Minnesotans expect," Simon said. "It is clear that replacing our state's aging election equipment is an ongoing need."

According to the Secretary of State's office, the issue facing Minnesota is an issue faced by much of the country. For example, New Mexico, a state with less than half the population of Minnesota, spent $12 million to purchase new equipment in 2014. That same year, Maryland spend approximately $28 million -- half that in state grants for local government bodies -- to replace that state's aging election equipment.

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Voting Booth Funds

County Precincts Grant Award

Dodge 22 $40,876.31

Fillmore 37 $68,746.52

Goodhue 40 $74,320.57

Houston 27 $50,166.38

Mower 40 $74,320.57

Olmsted 84 $156,073.19

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Wabasha 33 $61,314.46

Winona 49 $91,042.69

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