DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate will provide $1,000 grants to every county in the state to improve voter access in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.

The grant will provide funds for counties to partner with local advocacy organizations to determine how polling places can be more accessible for people with disabilities.

Secretary Pate said even though every polling place is required to be accessible, it’s time to move past just compliance.

“Inclusion begins in the planning stages and providing county auditors with the resources to work with local organizations to improve access will make sure every Iowan can easily navigate their polling place on Election Day,” Secretary Pate said.

Approximately 300,000 Iowans have a disability. Bill Kallestad, public policy manager for the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, said voting can be difficult for people with disabilities and these grants are a great way to enact real change.

“This grant opportunity is a great way to take steps to understand and address these challenges,” Kallestad said. “Learning about voting challenges from people with disabilities can lead to meaningful change.”

The deadline for counties to request the grant funds is August 31 and the scope of the work must be completed by the November midterm election.