Secretary Tennant and HAVA Director Layna Brown presented the HAVA grant
to Commissioner Clyde Gum, Jr April 2 at the State Capitol.
The polling place in Gap Mills will have several improvements for voters with disabilities when they go there to cast their ballot on May 8.
Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant presented Monroe County Commissioner Clyde Gum, Jr. a Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant for $7,600 today at the State Capitol. Gum accepted the grant on behalf of the Monroe County Clerk’s Office and the Monroe County Commission.
Commissioner Gum says the grant will be used to pave the parking area, to install a sidewalk and railing, and make a threshold ramp at the entrance to the polling place.
About 800 people will use the polling place at Gap Mills on Election Day, making it one of the larger precincts in Monroe County.
“Construction is set to begin very soon, either this week or next week,” Commissioner Gum said. “These improvements will help not only our voters with disabilities on Election Day, but all year round with any person who has difficulty walking across gravel parking lots.”
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.
“I encourage all election officials across the state to examine each of their polling places,” Secretary Tennant said. “If there is a way we can make the polling places more accessible, even if it is something as small as a new doorknob that is easier for an elderly person to open, let the Secretary of State’s Office know. There may be a way to use HAVA funds to eliminate any barrier to voting.”
Since 2004 nearly $550,000 in grant funding has been awarded to counties across West Virginia to make voting more accessible. More than $170,000 in grant funding has been awarded since 2009.
Last December, Summers County was awarded a grant for $8,225 for improvements to three polling places. And last October, Secretary Tennant personally delivered a grant check to Putnam County for $4,820 to make improvements to the early voting location.