Grant awarded to help disabled voters

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Secretary of State Beth Chapman says the state of Alabama has received $165,000 as an annual grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The funds were provided under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and are intended to allow Alabama to improve the accessibility of elections for voters with disabilities.

In all, Alabama has received approximately $1 million from the HHS funding program over the past 6 years. Secretary Chapman has overseen the distribution of $478,000 since 2007, when she discovered none of the money was ever distributed from the funds prior to her administration. The remaining $550,000 will be awarded with a new application available for counties starting September 1, 2009.

Because of the reimbursements for these local improvements, polling places have been equipped to assist voters who are visually or hearing impaired, as well as those with mobility issues.

"We are working to ensure that all 67 counties are able to receive the funds to which they are entitled so that we may better assist disabled voters," Chapman said.  "We want to ensure that all Alabamians who are entitled to vote are able to cast their ballots on Election Day as easily and efficiently as possible."