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Senior Living residents retain their right to vote

Posted on: Sep 28, 2020

Individuals receiving long-term services and supports retain their voting rights, no matter where they live or what type of care they receive. The ability to vote in the upcoming election presents significant difficulties for residents of long-term care communities. 

With strict limits still in place on the ability of senior residents to leave communities, and restrictions on friends and relatives coming inside, the looming 2020 elections are presenting the nation’s 15,000 nursing communities with an unprecedented clash of priorities -- balancing between protecting public health and securing the foundational American right to vote.

In prior years, many communities served as polling places, making it easier for residents to vote. Additionally, residents were able to leave communities and travel to their polling place or rely on loved ones to bring them mail-in ballots. This year, because of the serious risk that COVID-19 poses to residents of long-term care communities, polling stations have been moved, communities have been locked down, and residents cannot rely on their loved ones to help them vote. For most residents, the only way they will be able to vote is by mail.

Fortunately, there are many resources available for residents of long-term care communities to help them obtain mail-in ballots. Nevertheless, many residents will need assistance filling these ballots out and returning them. Below you will find resources to help obtain mail-in ballots, when those ballots are due, and also how to obtain help with voting. All nursing home residents eligible to vote must be able to cast a ballot this November. 

Both presidential campaigns recognize the issue -- and the importance of making sure senior living residents are not left without any options for voting in November. Seniors traditionally represent a sizable block of voters, and both parties have for decades devised election day strategies for mobilizing those living in long-term care, whether that has meant hiring shuttle buses or distributing and mailing absentee ballots.

Like most senior living communities around the nation, Christian Horizons communities have had to come up with creative solutions to ensure residents can exercise their most basic right. 

"Voting is a right we support for our residents," said Karen Larson, Vice President of Community Operations. Staff at Christian Horizons communities are helping residents complete applications and working with local governing authorities to ensure residents are mailed absentee ballots. 

“Just as we have worked hard to help residents communicate remotely with friends and family, we want to help our residents enjoy their normal freedoms and quality of life during these difficult times, including the ability to participate in our democracy," said Larson.

Email us with any questions regarding voting preparedness at Christian Horizons communities.

How To Obtain Mail-In Ballots in Your State and Deadlines for Returning Ballots

In almost all states, voters can vote by mail without giving an excuse why they cannot vote in person, or they may use COVID-19 as a reason for being unable to vote. 

Source: National Consumer Voice