The right to vote is not taken away by Dementia.

On April 9, 2019, Israel will hold general elections. Israelis will head to the polls to choose their elected leaders and representatives. Just one week to go! With this election just around the corner, it’s a good time to remember that people with Dementia have the same right to vote like everyone else.

The right to vote

The right to vote is a legally protected human right. People with Dementia retain the right to vote, wherever they live, including if they are temporarily staying somewhere that isn’t their usual residence or in a nursing home. People retain their right to vote so long as they are able to clearly express their voting choice.

The decision as to whether and how to vote at an election must be made by the elector themselves, and not by a carer or a person making decisions on behalf of the elector

Voting and Dementia

For those with Dementia and their families and caregivers, there are other challenges when it comes to voting.  How do families and caregivers know when it’s appropriate for their loved one or patient to vote and when is not recommended? 

Below are some guidelines to help families or professionals decide whether their loved one or patient with Alzheimer’s should vote on the 9th of April 2019.

There is no absolute measure of a valid test to determine if a person with dementia is able to vote or not.

Be Aware

It’s NEVER legal to vote for another person in his or her absence.
There are basically 2 conditions that MUST be present for a person to vote which are:

  • The voter must understand what they are doing (such as choosing between the candidates)
  • The voter realizes the person who gets the most votes will take office.

Knowing the parameters surrounding the right to vote, it’s up to the family or a professional caregiver to make the decision as to whether a loved one or patient with Dementia should vote.

Israeli Parlement: The Knesset

Other considerations

Has your loved one or patient expressed an interest in voting this year? Was voting important to your loved one or patient in the past?
Can your loved one or patient voice his or her understanding of the voting process? Tips for assisting the person with Dementia in the voting process:

  • Request a mail-in ballot to allow your loved one ample time to fill out the ballot in a familiar environment,
  • Keep questions short-ask only one at a time to avoid overwhelming him or her,
  • Be supportive
  • Avoid making the decisions for him or her
  • Allow him or her to fill out the ballot independently.

Everyone should have the chance to vote, but should not have it forced upon them!

When you need more information or tips don’t hesitate to contact us.