The bill would appropriate $5 million to the Office of the Secretary of State for local government grants to support elections security.
The House State Government Finance and Elections Committee heard two bills on March 4 pertaining to elections and elections security.
Election security grant
HF 3870 (Rep. Emma Greenman, DFL-Minneapolis) would appropriate $5 million to create a grant program, administered through the Office of the Secretary of State, for local governments to apply for funds to assist in elections security improvements.
The grant could be used for a variety of projects, including but not limited to:
- Making improvements to the physical security of polling places and locations administering elections.
- Preparing training materials for local election officials.
- Implementing physical security improvements for elections systems.
A county would be eligible for a grant of a minimum $30,000, and the remaining grant funds would be distributed based on the citizen voting age population of each political subdivision.
HF 3870 was passed by the committee and referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
Prohibiting activities that impact election officials
HF 3666 (Rep. Greenman) would prohibit certain activities that would impact an election official’s performance of duties. These activities include but are not limited to:
- Intimidating an election official.
- Interfering with or hindering the administration of an election,
- Disseminating personal information about an election official.
- Knowingly making false allegations about an election official.
- Obtaining access to a location where election duties are performed.
HF 3666 was laid over for continued discussion in a hearing next week.
Testimony on the bills
Representatives from counties spoke in support of both bills, sharing how the funds allocated in HF 3870 could be used to improve local elections administration and how HF 3666 reflects the need to protect our local election workers.
The League submitted a joint letter of support for the bills in partnership with the Association of Minnesota Counties, the Minnesota Association of County Officers, and the Minnesota Association of Townships.