BACKUS-Cass County will receive $135,635 from the state toward purchasing new voting equipment before this fall's elections, Election Administrator Sharon Anderson reported Tuesday to the county board.

This will cover about 30 percent of the total cost she expects the new equipment to run, she said. The county will pay the balance.

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The Legislature approved a $7 million fund in 2017 for this purpose. If all the voting equipment in the state were replaced in one year, she said it has been estimated to cost about $28 million.

On her project to better inform mail ballot voters about that process, Anderson said she met with those attending caucuses this month.

She has invited city and township officers to attend informational meetings 3-5 p.m. Feb. 23 at the old city hall in Remer; 3-5 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Cass County land office in Backus; 3-5 p.m. March 1 at Sylvan Town Hall; and 10 a.m.-noon March 2 at the courthouse in Walker to hear their suggestions on how to encourage more voters to cast their mailed ballots.

During the last election, many voters threw out their ballot with their junk mail. This year's effort is to make voters more aware of when to expect their ballot to arrive about a month before the election, so they don't mistakenly discard it again.

The county commissioners approved another step Tuesday. They will allow Anderson to purchase "ballottrax" mass notification system to enable voters to sign up for notification by mail, text or voice about when ballots are mailed and what the envelope will look like when they get their ballot.

It also will provide drop-off sites for ballots if people prefer not to mail back their ballot. If a voter fails to return their ballot, the system also will send a reminder to return the ballot.

Anderson said she is working to provide a more convenient way for mail ballot voters to cast their vote if they wait to do so in person on Election Day.

Auditor-Treasurer Sandra Norikane obtained board approval Tuesday for the content of an informational newsletter to be mailed to property owners with their tax bills this spring.

Among the topics will be the county board's summer meeting schedule, commissioners' personal telephone numbers, aquatic invasive species, how property taxes are computed, the June 23 county land sale, 2018 election filing and voting dates, vulnerable adult mistreatment reporting, property fraud notification, updated county website mapping, zoning permits required, 2018 county highway projects and the sheriff's 2017 activities.