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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 23, 2011

COLUMBUS – Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced that Ohio has received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Help America Vote Act, to ensure equal access to the voting process for voters with a full range of disabilities.

“It’s important for all Ohio voters to have easy access to the polls on voting day,” Husted said. “This is an opportunity for our 88 county boards of elections to make the permanent improvements they might not have had the funds for otherwise, that will allow voters with disabilities easier access to the voting process,”

The Secretary of State’s office, which will administer and oversee the grant, is currently seeking  applications from county boards of elections interested in making justifiable permanent improvements to polling locations in order to improve the access and participation of individuals with disabilities in the electoral process. County boards of elections with polling locations that meet the following approval priorities will be given greater consideration when the Secretary of State’s office reviews grant applications for permanent accessibility improvements.

  1. Tax Funded Polling Locations:  The building needing the permanent improvements is a public building, meaning that the building is supported by taxation under the laws of this state. (Ex. Municipal, county or township buildings, libraries, schools, etc.).
  2. Matching Funds:   Polling location owner provides matching funds to help with the cost of the permanent improvements. Labor can be used as a substitute for matching funds.  Matching funds could come from alternative sources (Ex. Community Development Block Grant).
  3. Multiple Justifiable Measures:  Permanent improvements at polling location must be justified; counties should identify multiple justifications for the requested permanent improvements.

Grant funds will be awarded directly to county boards of elections, twice a year. There is no limit to the amount of any particular grant award or the number of grants awarded to local election authorities.

Completed grant proposals should be returned to Joy West with the Secretary of State’s office either by email at jwest@sos.state.oh.us, by fax at (614) 485-7070, or by mail at 180 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

Additional information regarding the grant application is available at the links below:

http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/Upload/News/2011/2011-0523-GrantInstructions.pdf

http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/Upload/News/2011/2011-0523-GrantApplication.pdf

http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/Upload/News/2011/2011-0523-JustifiableMeasures.pdf

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For more information, please contact Matt McClellan at 614-995-2168 or mmcclellan@sos.state.oh.us.

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