The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) provides funds for improving the accessibility and quality of polling places. We are pleased to announce that the Office of the Secretary of State has received additional federal grants and has approximately $125,000 in funds available to city, township, and county governments for polling place accessibility improvement projects.
These grants are funded through the National Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Development Disabilities (ADD), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Election Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (EAID). Of the available funding, a majority has been designated for physical, accessibility improvements to the polling place, such as automatic door openers, disability parking spaces, projects to make bathrooms accessible, ramps, etc. Money has also been designated for polling place enhancements, such as accessible voting booths, magnifiers, etc., to permit privacy and independence for the voter. Typical grant amounts have ranged from approximately $100 up to $6,000 in previous years. Be advised that for more expensive projects (automatic doors, parking lots, ramps, etc.), we may only be able to provide partial funding, with the local jurisdiction having to provide the balance of the funds.
2014 EAID grant recipients2011 EAID grant recipients 2009 EAID grant recipients
Assessing Polling Place Accessibility
As used in the previous HHS Disability Grant cycles, the Office of the Secretary of State, in collaboration with the Minnesota State Council on Disability, developed the Polling Place Accessibility Diagnostic Tool as an aid for self-assessing the accessibility of polling places. It addresses parking, exterior and interior pathways, restrooms, as well as the actual voting experience.
Grant funds are for the specific purpose of improving accessibility in the polling place for individuals with disabilities, not for general improvements to the structure itself. The Polling Place Accessibility Diagnostic Tool will assist in determining whether the proposed improvement will improve accessibility.
The Polling Place Accessibility Diagnostic Tool is available to all cities, townships, and counties for accessibility self-assessments of their polling places. This tool is not returned to our office. This tool is to be used within the city, township, or county as part of the grant application process for identifying potential polling place accessibility needs.
If needs are identified, then the local jurisdiction can apply for grant funds for this purpose.
EAID Grant Program ApplicationSample Township ResolutionSample City Resolution
Applications are due to the Office of the Secretary of State by 4:00pm on December 4, 2013. Grants totaling approximately $125,000 will be awarded in January 2014. See above for a downloadable grant application materials.
The jurisdictions who are awarded an EAID grant must return their signed contract to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State by March 14, 2014 or the award will be withdrawn. Upon notification from the Secretary of State that the contract has been fully approved the jurisdiction may begin work. The jurisdiction may not begin work until they have been notified by the State’s Authorized Representative to begin work. All work must be completed no later than August 9, 2014. For further information, please contact Brad Anderson at Bradley.K.Anderson@state.mn.us or by phone at (651) 556-0642.In order to apply for these EAID funds, political subdivisions must answer all questions fully and completely. An unanswered question could result in the disqualification of the application. If there is a question(s) that is not applicable, please indicate that in your application.
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