AMAC MAGAZINE: Volume 17, Issue 1 - JAN/FEB 2023

"Someone Stole Mom's Vote!"

S isters Rhonda and Mary hit the jackpot. They were blessed with an incredible mother who nurtured, loved, and protected them. So, when their mom fell victim to the cruel and unforgiving disease of dementia, they vowed that they would repay her with the same love and protection. As the disease progressed and their mom lost her ability to communicate and handle basic care, they reluc- tantly moved her into the memory care unit of a reputable residential care facility in Lubbock, Texas. Mary, the legal guardian, was sure that Mom was safe. When COVID hit and they were unable to visit her, they still checked on her regularly with facil- ity staff. However, as time went on and the nursing home became less responsive, they started to worry.

How would they know if someone was mistreating or neglecting her? What tools did they have to monitor the facility? Her care was expensive, but where was the accountability? In the fall of 2020, they looked for any way possible to keep an eye on the facility. After the November election, Mary used the Texas government website that allows voters to check their voting records. As guardian, she also checked her mom’s voting record, which tells if someone voted but not how they voted. “I felt like I had been punched in the gut!” Mary was shocked to see that her mom had “voted” in the Novem- ber 2020 election. As her guardian, Mary had not changed her mom’s voter registration when she moved her to a new county because, of course, nonverbal dementia patients

are unable to vote. She also knew that her mom was unable to fill out a request for a mail-in ballot and had no idea of the name of the current president. She immediately called her sister and said, “Someone stole Mom’s vote!” Rhonda had heard about the work of the American Constitutional Rights Union (ACRU) and the Protect Vulner- able Voters Project. ACRU educates the public about the risks to vulner- able voters and takes on residential facilities who fail to protect their votes. ACRU also educates state offi- cials and legislators about this abuse of vulnerable voters and encourages them to prioritize investigation and prosecution and change legislation where necessary.

14 • AMAC Magazine

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