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Voting Rights of Older Adults with Cognitive Impairments

By Jennifer Mathis

Individuals (especially older adults) with cognitive impairments often find barriers to exercising their right to vote. State laws requiring a level of mental capacity may erroneously prevent voters from exercising their franchise. State photo identification laws present a hurdle too difficult for some to overcome. State and local election officials and nursing homes may also sometimes mistakenly prevent capable adults from voting. The increased attention to voting by people with cognitive impairments has created opportunities to eliminate inappropriate laws and practices. Strategies to change law and policy may reenfranchise these voters.

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