Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon made the following remarks after Gov. Walz signed the state government finance bill:
“Despite a stalemate on many election reform issues at the Capitol, the 2021 legislative session produced some important bipartisan breakthroughs that will help in the administration of elections.
In particular, I’m grateful that the Legislature included new standards for ballot drop boxes in Minnesota law. These guidelines, which were originally developed by my office as "best practices" recommendations during the 2020 election season, will finally formalize what had previously been a patchwork of practices among counties and cities.
As more and more Minnesota voters choose to vote early by absentee ballot, they will certainly appreciate the security and convenience that drop boxes now provide, and voters can now expect a consistent experience wherever in Minnesota they cast their ballot.”
Drop boxes that provide round-the-clock access must now, under state law, among other security measures, be:
- Continually recorded on video during the absentee voting period.
- Designed to prevent removal or tampering.
- Secured against damage due to weather.
- Emptied of ballots at least once per business day.
The bill also includes $2 million in grants for counties and cities to aid in implementation of these drop box security measures.
The Legislature also provided the Office of Secretary of State with authority to distribute to local governments grants totaling $3 million in federal funds for election security upgrades, and an additional $1.5 million in state funds to replace aging election equipment.
Steve Simon has served as the Minnesota Secretary of State since 2015.