Resident and Real Estate Services’ Elections Division requests $1.1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to support the upgrade of electronic poll book hardware. By approving the current request, the county supports its earlier approval of Amendment 1 to Agreement A164895 with Know Inc., LLC approved by the board on November 16, 2021. Amendment 1 to Agreement A164895 included authorization to replace outdated electronic poll book hardware with new leased electronic poll book hardware. This current request is seeking approval to use American Rescue Plan Act funding rather than property tax dollars, as was previously approved, to fund the entire electronic pollbook hardware replacement project in 2022. The electronic poll book system is used in all polling places during every election conducted in Hennepin County.
The American Rescue Plan Act stipulates that money from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund may only be used to cover certain costs incurred between March 3, 2021, and December 31, 2024. This includes costs to respond to the public health emergency with respect to the COVID–19 or its negative economic impacts. Under the available U.S. Department of Treasury guidance, this category of eligible costs can include “providing government services” to the extent of a reduction in the recipient’s general revenue due to the pandemic. The County may “use payments from the Fiscal Recovery Funds to avoid cuts to government services and, thus, enable [the County] to continue to provide valuable services.”
Impact/outcomes: Approval of this request will enable the county to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to lease new electronic poll book hardware, ensuring poll book hardware is supported by current iOS operating systems critical to the county’s ability to maintain security and usability of our electronic poll book system in elections beginning 2022.
This board action request to support a poll book hardware upgrade directly impacts the County’s ability to administer accurate and secure elections. This request aligns with Hennepin County’s disparity reduction efforts by ensuring integrity and security of a key component in the administration of elections in our county, allowing residents the ability to continue to confidently participate in our democracy, hold elected officials accountable, and have a voice in important issues affecting themselves and their communities. Elections and voting directly impact all disparity domains.