Task force to plan for emergencies on election days

The first meeting of the new Elections Emergency Planning Task Force  today in St. Paul will begin work to prepare plans to ensure the election process in the face of disaster.

The 14-member group was created by the Legislature to “ensure that Minnesota is prepared if a natural disaster, blizzard, or other large scale incident occurs affecting an election,” according to Secretary of State Steve Simon’s office.

The group is supposed to report back by Jan. 1, and will consider:

  • Potential emergency scenarios that could impact elections 
  • The current state and local capacity and authority to address emergency situations 
  • Maintaining ballot security in the event of an emergency 
  • Continuity of operation procedures and 
  • Communications plans and emergency networks

Simon’s office says the state is “well-equipped to deal with issues affecting one or two polling locations, there is additional work needed to ensure that Minnesota is prepared if a large portion of the state is affected by a disaster.”

The group, which meets at 2 p.m. in the State Office Building, includes legislators, the secretary of state, representatives of cities, counties and school boards, the state adjutant general, an emergency manager, the state public safety department and the council on disability.

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