News: Federal funding for COVID-19 response, reducing gun violence, elections equipment

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Hennepin County Minnesota


Contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-910-9111


Federal funding for COVID-19 response, reducing gun violence, elections equipment

The board of commissioners allocated federal funds to maintain the county’s COVID-19 response, reduce gun violence and upgrade elections equipment. Funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.


Up to $10M for continued COVID-19 response

Commissioners approved up to an additional $10 million for ongoing pandemic response.

In 2020 and 2021, the board used federal funds for many actions to respond to the pandemic, including:

  • Giving 70,000 vaccines, prioritizing communities who are disproportionality impacted by COVID-19
  • Providing safer shelter at hotels for people who cannot safely self-isolate or quarantine
  • Conducting COVID-19 contact tracing and testing, including in county correctional facilities
  • Supplying PPE, hygiene and cleaning supplies to staff and community
  • Putting COVID-19 mitigation measures in place at county facilities
  • Paying COVID-related healthcare costs and COVID-19 leave for staff


$5M to prevent, reduce and mitigate gun violence  

The county continues to address gun violence and its impacts that have worsened during COVID-19 and disparately harmed communities of color.  

The board approved new funding that will allow the county to: 

  • Continue existing gun violence interruption programs   
  • Coordinate with other county programming focused on violence prevention and reducing disparities  
  • Identify partnership opportunities with cities on this issue 
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of these efforts   

In June 2021, the board approved $5 million in federal funds for this initiative. Since then, the county has put short-term strategies in place, including:  

  • Wrap-around services for young adults hospitalized due to violent injury 
  • Violence intervention services for youth and adults involved in the justice system 
  • Community provider patrol and outreach in neighborhoods experiencing high crime and violence 
  • Increased forensic resources to investigate violent crimes   
  • Funding for violence intervention resources for those experiencing trauma in disproportionately impacted communities   


$2M to support secure and efficient elections

Hennepin County continues to invest in secure and efficient elections technology. The board approved $2 million for upgrades that will continue to safeguard the integrality of in-person voting and absentee ballot voting.

Electronic poll books ensure a smooth check-in experience at polling places and allow election officials to accurately manage absentee ballot data. Poll book hardware upgrades will provide critical security and usability improvements. 

Absentee voting rates in Hennepin County increased significantly in 2020 to approximately 70% of total voters, compared to approximately 30% in previous years, and is expected to remain high for elections held in 2022 and 2024.

In a voter survey conducted by the Elections Division in November 2021, 60% of voters indicated they prefer to vote by absentee ballot going forward. Over 75% of all absentee ballots cast in Hennepin County are counted on central ballot scanners. Replacing current central ballot scanners with new, upgraded models enables the county to continue to effectively manage the increase in absentee ballots.


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