Monday, September 13, 2004
Normally we'd do it ourselves, but we just can't bring ourselves to swing at a pitch this fat. From the Washington Post:
As swing states with large elderly populations such as Florida gear up for another presidential election, a sleeper issue has been gaining attention on medical, legal and political radar screens: Many people with advanced dementia appear to be voting in elections -- including through absentee ballot. Although there are no national statistics, two studies in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island found that patients at dementia clinics turned out in higher numbers than the general population.
About 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia. Florida alone has 455,000 patients, advocates estimate.
Concern is growing that people with dementia may be targets for partisan exploitation in nursing homes and other facilities. Even without abuse, family members and caregivers may unduly influence close elections.
"Precisely because Alzheimer's disease insidiously erodes the ability to make reasoned judgments . . . it is somewhat unnerving to consider that patients with dementia may routinely contribute to selecting the leader of the free world," Victor W. Henderson and David A. Drachman wrote after the 2000 election in the journal Neurology.