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House OKs measure to appropriate federal funds for election security

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House lawmakers passed a measure Thursday that would free up millions in federal grant funds targeted at protecting Minnesota’s election systems from bad actors.

HF14, sponsored by Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL-Brooklyn Park), would retroactively credit state expenditures on election security efforts to meet a required 5 percent state match to free up nearly $6.6 million in federal Help America Vote Act grant funds.

Passed by a 105-23 vote, the bill now goes the Senate, where Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake) is the sponsor.

Congress passed the grant funds as part of a larger appropriations bill in March 2018 in an effort to thwart future cyberattacks on election infrastructure. Minnesota was the only state that did not claim those grant dollars ahead of the 2018 election after former Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the appropriation as part of a larger bill.

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