Remembering to vote

An interesting Election Day-related item in the news today on dementia and elections gives new meaning to the old injunction about remembering to vote. 

Aged care providers are saying that the Electoral Act needs to be reviewed to stop people with severe dementia being able to cast a ballot, Radio New Zealand reports

Under the existing legislation, it’s okay for sufferers to vote as long as they know what they’re doing.

Easier said than done, of course, and, as Alzheimers New Zealand executive director Catherine Hall points out, it can be difficult knowing where to draw the correct cognitive line.

Family members and others can help a person with dementia cast their ballot. While the electoral law aims to ensure that those carers can’t hijack the vote to suit their own political purposes, it’s unclear exactly how it achieves this. Has anyone ever been prosecuted for breaking this law? 

Martin Taylor, the chief executive of the Aged Care Association, is also quoted as saying that the existing legislation needs to be reviewed. 

David Cohen is a Wellington author, commentator, and family carer; he writes often about ageing, caring, and disability issues.