Thanks to the joint efforts of multiple groups in Barbour County, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant came to Philippi Friday to hand over a grant for more than $9,000 to the Barbour County Clerk. The money will go to improving accessibility to two county polling places. Tennant said these grants will go a long way to increasing that access across the state.
"We would love to see 100 percent of ADA compliance with our precincts for elections, and it's not just about disability, it's about mobility also, but you certainly can receive these grants through the federal Help America Vote Act to make it easier to vote," said Tennant.
The money will add handicapped accessible doors to two county schools, Philippi Middle and Belington Elementary. While people with disabilities can be found across the country, Barbour County Clerk Macel Auvil said this is a gift that the county can make good use of.
"There was great need for this. We actually did need this, and have needed this for a good bit, and I am so thankful that the Board of Education worked with us and with the commission to be able to get the grant and then apply for the money through the Secretary of State's office," Auvil said.
While election accessibility is the main goal of the program, Tennant said the added improvements will be a permanent benefit for their communities.
"Going into a school, sometimes they go to churches, or community centers. It makes a difference all year long, not just on election day, because then you have the easy accessibility all year long," Tennant said.