Rocking the Vote from Rocking Chairs

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Media Contact:Kim Menard | Kim.menard@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-662-6183 March 16, 2011

For seniors, voting can be difficult: standing with a walker or cane in the voting booth, struggling to read the tiny print on the ballot or trying to punch the tiny button to vote for the intended candidate. Despite the desire to vote, the typical voting process leaves many seniors disenfranchised, particularly for residents of long term care facilities.

A Penn Medicine study of a process called mobile polling – where election officials register voters onsite, then bring voting ballots to long term care residents and provide voter assistance as needed – found that nursing home residents, staff and election officials all agreed that mobile polling is better than current voting methods. Not only did the mobile polling efforts guarantee residents their right to vote, but according to the nursing home staff, it also brought dignity to residents. The study appears in the current issue of the Election Law Journal.

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