FARMINGTON -- Davis County is doing what it can to make its poll locations for the Nov. 6 general election accessible to those with disabilities.
And their effort is not going unnoticed.
The county recently received the 2012 Accessible Voting Award presented by the Disability Law Center and Tri-County Grassroots Advocacy Partnership, Davis County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings said.
The award was presented to the county at a Sept. 27 ceremony.
"One of the first priorities of our county clerk/auditor's office in the election arena has been to excel in the area of making voting locations accessible to all," Rawlings said Tuesday when announcing the award at the regularly held Davis County Commission meeting.
With early voting only a few weeks away, fewer than 35 percent of polling places are accessible to those with disabilities in most Utah counties, said Sheri Newton, senior advocate with the DLC.
"On the other end of the spectrum, Davis County has made significant efforts to make the voting experience as accessible as possible," Newton said.
Davis County works hard to make sure every voter can cast a ballot on Election Day by using funds it receives from the Help America Vote Act, Newton said.
The act, established after the 2000 presidential election, requires voters with disabilities be allowed to vote privately and independently, and polling locations to be physically accessible.
"Unfortunately, many counties with more serious access issues have not applied for (the HAVA) funding," Newton said of the funds passed through the state Elections Office.
Although voting by mail is available, being able to cast a ballot at the polls is something many who are disabled look forward to.
"It is important to provide people the opportunity to vote, outside of having them vote by mail," said GAP representative Kelly Babcock, who has a physical disability and uses a powered wheelchair.
"Davis County has shown leadership in election practices that increase convenience for all voters, including those with disabilities, and they have willingly partnered with disability access experts for technical assistance," Newton said.
The DLC advocates for the legal rights of voters with disabilities, while GAP is a statewide organization providing training and support to enable those with disabilities, their families and professionals to advocate for their needs.