(a) The secretary of state, with the assistance of the commissioner of administration, shall establish one or more state voting systems contracts. The contracts should, if practical, include provisions for maintenance of the equipment purchased. The voting systems contracts must address precinct-based optical scan voting equipment, and ballot marking equipment for persons with disabilities and other voters. The contracts must give the state a perpetual license to use and modify the software. The contracts must include provisions to escrow the software source code, as provided in subdivision 2. Bids for voting systems and related election services must be solicited from each vendor selling or leasing voting systems that have been certified for use by the secretary of state. The contracts must be renewed from time to time.
(b) The secretary of state shall appoint an advisory committee, including representatives of the state chief information officer, county auditors, municipal clerks who have had operational experience with the use of electronic voting systems, and members of the disabilities community to advise the secretary of state in reviewing and evaluating the merits of proposals submitted from voting equipment vendors for the state contracts.
(c) Counties and municipalities may purchase or lease voting systems and obtain related election services from the state contracts. All counties and municipalities are members of the cooperative purchasing venture of the Department of Administration for the purpose of this section. For the purpose of township elections, counties must aggregate orders under contracts negotiated under this section for products and services and may apportion the costs of those products and services proportionally among the townships receiving the products and services. The county is not liable for the timely or accurate delivery of those products or services.
The contracts must require the voting system vendor to provide a copy of the source code for the voting system to an independent third-party evaluator selected by the vendor, the secretary of state, and the chairs of the major political parties. The evaluator must examine the source code and certify to the secretary of state that the voting system will record and count votes as represented by the vendor. Source code that is trade secret information must be treated as nonpublic information, in accordance with section 13.37. Each major political party may designate an agent to examine the source code to verify that the voting system will record and count votes as represented by the vendor; the agent must not disclose the source code to anyone else.