Mobile polling would benefit residents, expert says

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Mobile polling would provide improved access to voting for seniors who live in long-term care facilities, according to a university expert testifying before Congress recently.

Jason Karlawish, MD, associate professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania School for Medicine, laid out his proposals for the Senate Special Committee on Aging less than a week before tomorrow's Super Tuesday round of primaries for the presidential race. According to Karlawish, 29 states do not have voting guidelines to accommodate residents of long-term care facilities. He noted that "in states without guidelines for voting in long-term care, access to the polls is largely determined by the practices and attitudes of the long-term care staff."

Mobile polling, which entails directly distributing ballots to long-term facility residents, assisting with voting, collecting ballets and ensuring their return to a polling site, is already the norm in Canada and Australia, Karlawish testified before the panel. He recommended that research be conducted into the best ways to work with long-term care facilities to bring mobile polling to older Americans.