A voting equipment grant account is created in the state treasury to provide grants to political subdivisions to purchase precinct based optical scan ballot tabulation equipment. The equipment must permit the voter to verify and correct any errors on the ballot, including both undervotes and overvotes. Any grants made by the federal government to the state to improve election administration or equipment must be credited to the account.
The commissioner of administration may make a grant from the account to a political subdivision only after receiving an application from the political subdivision and a recommendation from the secretary of state concerning the application. The application must contain the following information:
(1) the date the application is submitted;
(2) the name of the political subdivision;
(3) the name and title of the individual who prepared the application;
(4) the type of voting system currently used in each precinct in the political subdivision;
(5) if the current system is an optical scan system, the date the system was acquired and at what cost;
(6) the total number of registered voters, as of the date of the application, in each precinct in the political subdivision;
(7) the total amount of the grant requested;
(8) the total amount and source of the political subdivision's money to be used to match a grant from the account;
(9) the type of voting system to be acquired with the grant money and whether the voting system will permit individuals with disabilities to cast a secret ballot;
(10) the proposed schedule for purchasing and implementing the new voting system and the precincts in which the new voting system would be used;
(11) the proposed schedule for training election administrators and election judges to operate the new voting system;
(12) a proposed plan to educate voters, the media, and the general public concerning the new voting system;
(13) the names and contact information for the individuals and offices of the political subdivision responsible for communications and reporting to the commissioner of administration regarding the administration and implementation of the grant by the political subdivision, authorizing the purchase of voting systems, and implementing the training and education plan for the voting system;
(14) whether the political subdivision has previously applied for a grant from the account and the disposition of that application;
(15) a certified statement by the political subdivision that the grant will be used only to purchase precinct based optical scan ballot tabulation equipment, that the political subdivision will provide a dollar-for-dollar match that will not come from state or federal money, and that the political subdivision has insufficient resources to purchase the voting system without obtaining a grant from the account.
The commissioner of administration must forward a copy of the application to the secretary of state.
In evaluating the application, the commissioner of administration may consider only the information set forth in the application and is not subject to chapter 14. If the commissioner of administration determines that the application has been fully and properly completed, and that there is a sufficient balance in the account to fund the grant, either in whole or in part, the commissioner, after receiving the recommendation of the secretary of state, may approve the application.
The commissioner of administration may then pay the grant to the political subdivision after certifying that:
(1) the grant will be used only to purchase the kind of ballot tabulation equipment prescribed by subdivision 1, which may include equipment that makes it possible for individuals with disabilities to cast a secret ballot;
(2) the political subdivision to receive the grant has insufficient resources available to purchase the equipment; and
(3) the recipient of the grant will provide a dollar-for-dollar match, which may not come from state or federal money.