Originally Posted in the Senior Living Blog: Posted On 24 Oct 2016
The United States has a proud democratic tradition dating back more than 200 years, and that tradition is based on the right to vote. Unfortunately, many older people who are receiving care at senior living communities aren’t always able exercise that right.
Seniors may be intimidated by the thought of getting to the polls and potentially waiting in long lines. Some might even wonder whether, as long term care residents, they’re still allowed to vote. Learn more about how to escort seniors to the polls during this election.
Escorting Senior Loved Ones to the Voting Polls
On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, U.S. citizens will vote and determine the direction of our country.
This year, senior advocacy organizations are making sure senior living residents’ voices are heard and votes are counted:
- The Senior Citizens League put together a checklist to follow to ensure seniors are informed and ready to vote, which includes:
- Knowing your district, registration and voting method, to researching candidates and issues, and finally, making your voice heard.
- Worldwide Programs for the Elderly promotes escorting seniors to the voting polls through a program, which provides escort and transportation to ensure that age and mobility does not limit a senior’s right to vote.
- Voting by absentee ballot is another way for seniors to make their voice heard if they are unable to go to their local polling place on Election Day. Be sure to research the set of rules regarding the specific requirements and qualifications for absentee voting in your state.
How Senior Living Providers Can Help Residents Vote
Senior living and other long-term care providers can help residents vote, by:
- Distributing sample ballots to familiarize residents with voting procedures.
- Helping residents get absentee ballots to vote.
- Helping residents register to vote.
- Hosting debate watching events.
- Hosting political discussions.
- Posting reminders about registration deadlines.
- Providing information on upcoming candidates and elections.
- Provide transportation to the polls.
We applaud these efforts and believe it’s vitally important that every citizen have the opportunity to make their voice heard.
If you are concerned that a senior loved one who lives in senior living may not be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote, contact your local Long-term Care Ombudsman for assistance.
For more information about polling locations and other election related matters where you live, visit the USA.gov Voting webpage.
Do you have experience escorting senior loved ones to the voting polls? Do you have any tips that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.