Voting Challenging During COVID-19
Residents in Care Facilities Find Voting Challenging During COVID-19. During the general election of 2020, elderly residents in nursing homes, assisted living, and other long-term care facilities find casting their ballot more difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic. Voter registration, opting to vote online or by mail, receiving a mail-in ballot, or using a computer, and finally completing and submitting your vote to the proper election authorities, can be a daunting task for seniors. Although rules are becoming less stringent regarding outside visitation, family members still find it difficult to assist their loved ones in voting as it is a multi-step process. Adding to the confusion is the perception of fairness in choosing to vote, in person, online, or by mail.
In past years, senior living facilities would often host polling stations in their lobby or a community room. Yet in 2020, due to fears of COVID-19 transmission and to protect the vulnerable resident population, each senior must come to terms with how they can best make their vote count. Like Janice Phillips, president of her facility’s resident council, some seniors with mobility problems have been voting by absentee ballot for years. During the pandemic, Ms. Phillips notes, “We’re basically not allowed to go out in public right now, we’re more vulnerable, and our immune systems are compromised anyhow. We’re basically locked in.”