The 'Dementia' Vote: Who Is Really Casting the Ballot?
1 in 3 seniors will eventually face some form of dementia -- Alzheimer's Association FAQs
A year ago, I discussed the problems associated with an overwhelming aging population and the legal intricacies of dementia patients voting.
My own grandmother, a lifetime voter, falls into this category -- at 97 years old, she's mentally 'lost' somewhere in the 1920s to 1940s, and it makes me question how 'fit' she really is to be deciding the future of our nation.
This is a problem that isn't going away, yet it's one that is consistently ignored by our politicians.
The elderly never 'like' to have their freedoms taken away -- who would? Like I had told my grandmother when she was in her early 80s, 'once you have a car wreck that is your fault, you need to 'hang up' the driving so that you don't hurt yourself or others.'
And so many elderly are in similar positions.
They quit driving because of accidents, enter care homes because of an inability for self-care or family-assisted care, and eventually enter palliative care when their bodies just wear out from the strain of old age.
These are just harsh realities that millions of American families face on a daily basis.
As a group, the oldest generations have consistently been the largest percentage voters in America.
My own grandmother has been a lifetime voter; as her mobility declined, she opted for mail-in ballots.
But at what point is 'she' filling out the ballot, or is it the person 'helping' her fill out the ballot that is actually voting?
As I wrote a year ago, there are really no laws on this subject -- and nothing has really changed over the past year.
I am wholly against schemes by political ilks that are designed to decrease voter turnout, but I cannot fathom a political system that would allow for someone to essentially 'double-vote' when helping a dementia patient fill out the ballot.
In a political climate that worries about voter fraud on a massive scale, only to turn up a handful of real cases, we are missing the proverbial mountain for the mole-hill when it comes to an impending problem that is only getting worse.
We, as an American people, are going to have to make some hard choices when it comes to this problem -- politically 'suicidal' choices for politicians, knowing full-well they need the support of the aging vote at election time.
But we must face this reality -- that voter fraud among dementia patients is almost certainly more likely than any other kind of voter fraud.
It's time to stop worrying about dead voters, illegal immigrants voting, or other frauds lawmakers have spent millions trying to find -- and start worrying about a problem that is growing exponentially as the Boomers age.
It's hard to be bluntly honest like this, from either of the two-party's perspective.
But this is an American problem, one we are going to have to face together as our nation ages.
Because if we aren't willing to face it, we might as well start giving all younger voters two or three ballots to cast -- because that's where we are heading.