Winfield, W.Va. – West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant awarded Putnam County a Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant of $4,820 today, ensuring easy access to the early voting location on the second floor of the Putnam County Court House.
The grant money will pay for a new oil cooler on the court house’s elevator. During the peak days of early voting, hundreds of people use the elevator to access the early voting location. When the oil in the elevator’s motor gets too hot, a safety mechanism shuts down the elevator. This means other procedures have to be put in place to make sure elderly or voters with disabilities can cast their ballot. With a new oil cooler, the elevator will not shut down and people will continue to have easy access to the early voting location.
“I am happy to present this check to County Clerk Brian Wood,” Tennant said. “Since 2003, the Help America Vote Act and the Secretary of State’s Office have awarded more than $520,000 in grants to make sure people have easy access to voting locations.”
The Voting Access for Individuals With Disabilities grant is funded by HAVA and administered by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.
This year, the Secretary of State’s Office awarded $6,000 HAVA grants to both Boone and Mercer Counties to purchase signs for each precinct to direct disabled voters to an accessible entrance. Roane County was also awarded a HAVA grant to purchase a new, easier to open door at the senior center in Amma. Last October, the Secretary of State’s Office awarded an Americans With Disabilities Act grant to Wood County to pave the gravel parking lot of a precinct located at a church. That grant, for $9,757, made it easier for voters with disabilities to make it to the polls and helped with traffic flow.
“This grant is especially important as we move toward the 2012 elections,” Clerk Wood said. “We expect very high turnout during the early voting period for the presidential primary in May and for the general election in November. There could be hundreds of people using this elevator every day, and it’s good to know that the elevator will not be shutting down at a very important time. We appreciate the Secretary of State’s Office and HAVA for helping us make this happen.”
Tennant said she encourages voters, poll workers, and county clerks to take a look at their precinct and see if any improvements could be made to make them more accessible – and contact the Secretary of State’s Office to see if a HAVA grant could fund the improvement.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant (center) presents Putnam
County Commissioners and County Clerk Brian Wood (right) a HAVA grant
for more than $4,820.