Study: Mobile voting takes out biases

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Mobile voting systems help nursing home residents feel less disenfranchised on Election Day, offering nurses and staff relief over possibly influencing how an elderly resident votes, a new study finds.

While mobile voting systems are used commonly in other countries, they have not been widely used in the United States, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Health System found.

During the 2008 general election, mobile voting systems were randomly assigned to 24 Medicare-designated Vermont nursing homes.

Election officials were carefully trained to read the ballot to residents and answer ballot-related questions.
Nurses and staff said that without the mobile polling units, they were often uncomfortable assisting residents with voting — or being accused of assisting too much.

“Elections are close,” said Jason Karlawish, MD, associate professor of medicine and medical ethics. “Voting matters, especially in long-term care facilities where there are often hundreds of voters eligible and interested in voting.
“Mobile polling effectively provides nursing home residents but with assistance without bias,” he added.

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