Target: The Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen
Goal: Ensure voting rights for nursing home residents
Nursing homes have been a site of significant voter disenfranchisement in recent years. Survey reports from a ProPublica database show that in the past few years, dozens of nursing homes have been cited for violating residents’ voting rights. For example, a nursing home in Anchorage failed to ensure residents had the opportunity to vote in a municipal election.
One resident was reported to be “visibly tearful” and complained about having voted in every single election up until that particular one. In another case, a Los Angeles nursing home failed to help residents register to vote, which resulted in the residents being denied their right to vote. While the nursing home in Anchorage has since taken steps to correct its voting protocol, there remain examples of homes where these sorts of violations occur routinely.
It is not up to the nursing home to decide who should get to vote. Nursing home facilitators and administrators have an obligation to ensure their residents have access to as well as assistance with the voting procedure. Some residents may need to be reminded to vote. The administrators have an obligation to involve themselves with this as well. Nursing homes are often thought of as places where people go and lose their rights and their ability to manage their own affairs. Denying residents the opportunity to vote only serves to perpetuates this idea.
The rights of nursing home residents are protected under the law, just like they are for any American citizen. Voting rights for long-term nursing home residents are no exception. Tell the Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen to ensure that nursing homes do not violate their residents’ right to vote.
Dear Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen,
Residents of nursing homes across America are being denied their right to vote because of inadequate protocols to ensure access to and assistance with the voting process. This has gone on for a number of years and is unacceptable. These voting rights violations most likely occur as a result of carelessness and ignorance of functional protocols rather than out of a malicious intent on the part of nursing homes to deny their residents their constitutionally-protected right to vote. Nonetheless, it is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Residents of nursing homes are especially vulnerable to voter disenfranchisement, as some residents may needed to be reminded to vote or be reminded of the proper day on which to cast their ballot. All nursing homes have the obligation to assist their residents in this regard. With the right protocols in place, no resident should miss the opportunity to vote unless they choose not to participate.
I urge you to do all that is in your power to make sure that nursing homes across America are following procedures that allow their residents adequate access to and assistance with the voting process.
[Your Name Here]
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