Moorefield, W.Va. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant delivered a grant today to the Hardy County Commission and Hardy County Clerk Gregory Ely to improve the handicapped access to the voting location at the Rig Civic Center.
The $24,193.89 grant, which is financed by the VOTE funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will fully fund the project. These funds are called the HAVA VOTE funds and are available as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. HAVA grants are comprised of federal funding that is administered by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.
The grant will pay for paving of the handicapped accessible parking lot and path to the polling place. The grant will also fully fund a project to cut out a wall and to install an entryway that is more accessible to the room where voting takes place, and to install a handicapped accessible outer door, deck, and wheelchair ramp.
“There should never be a time in West Virginia when a voter has an unreasonably difficult time simply making it into the building where they cast their ballot,” Secretary Tennant said. “Grants like this mean more than a new door or a freshly paved parking lot. It means accessibility to the democratic process and that every citizen who wants to vote has that opportunity. That’s why I am happy to personally deliver this grant to Hardy County and I encourage election officials around the state to examine their voting locations and see if they can receive a HAVA grant to make them more accessible.”
Since 2004, $643,075 has been awarded to counties to make voting more accessible. More than $264,319 has been awarded since 2009.
Recently, Monroe County was awarded a $7,160 grant to create a concrete handicap parking area and to replace two exterior doors with new doors that have handicap accessible hardware. Monroe County was also presented a grant in April for $7,600 to improve the voting location at Gap Mills. That grant was used to pave the parking area, install a sidewalk and railing, and to make a threshold ramp at the entrance to the polling place.