October 19, 2020

If you knew you had dementia, would you refrain from voting? If you were caring for a person with dementia, would you refrain from helping them vote?

I would answer yes and yes, but I'm reading "Having Dementia Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Vote/Yes, you can help a cognitively impaired person participate in the election. But heed these two guidelines" in the NYT. 
The Census Bureau has reported that more than 23 million American adults — close to 10 percent — have conditions limiting mental functioning, including learning and intellectual disabilities and Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.... Many will be effectively disenfranchised.... Workers in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as family members, may refuse to assist impaired voters because they believe that dementia disqualifies them. It doesn’t. A diagnosis of cognitive impairment does not bar someone from voting. Voters need pass no cognitive tests. They don’t have to be able to name the candidates or explain the issues.

Not everything is controlled by law. There is also a realm of ethics. Getting votes from people who don't understand what they are doing is rather obviously ethically wrong. The law is the way it is to keep the authorities from unfairly excluding people in a country where tests were once used in order to exclude black people. But there are many people who don't know what they're doing and they shouldn't be urged to vote. It's ethically correct for them to take themselves out of a choice-making activity that they don't understand. And it is ethically wrong to use an older person to collect a vote for the candidate that you want to win. 

The article ends with the conclusion of one personal story:

On Oct. 8, after considerable discussion, Judith Kozlowski helped her father make his selections. He allowed her to disclose that, after a lifetime of voting Republican, this time he had voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr....

174 comments:

tds said...

manual for Dem voters with shady ethics published just in time for elections

BarrySanders20 said...

Would be interesting to know the breakdown in votes by cognitively impaired people and see if it aligns with the preference of the person who “helped.” There are many ways to manipulate vulnerable people.

PB said...

No need to disclose who he voted for. No journalistic purpose.

tim maguire said...

I think it's dangerous to decide someone else doesn't have the mental faculties to make a responsible vote. If you take the number of people with dementia who want to vote and subtract the number who will cancel out each other's vote, I think you'll find the net effect is too small to justify crossing that line.

Bob Boyd said...

People would be there to help President Biden make his selections too.

tcrosse said...

But there are many people who don't know what they're doing and they shouldn't be urged to vote.

Or to run for President.

wendybar said...

If felons can vote, why can't dementia people, illegals, The country of Spain, 16 year olds ect..ect..Just let the world vote.

tim maguire said...

Granted, Judith Kozlowski likely voted twice, using her father's registration to cast her second vote. My answer is only about honest people making their own choices, not vulnerable people being manipulated by others.

James Pawlak said...

Well, there are those who have called me "Demented"; But, I have voted in the current "General Election" and will continue to maintain my 60-year record of missing only one such contribution to democracy (That one was due to an emergency trip out-of-state).

jaydub said...

"Having Dementia Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Vote..."

Hell, it doesn't even mean you can't be leader of the free world.

rhhardin said...

You can be irrational and still have a preference. You see it in women all the time. It's legendary.

Brand said...

On Oct. 8, after considerable discussion, Judith Kozlowski helped her recently deceased father make his selections. He allowed her to disclose that, after a lifetime of voting Republican, this time he had voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr....

FIFY

Mal said...

Given that Biden is often rumoured to suffer from dementia, doesn't it make sense that he would win the demented vote?

NYC JournoList said...

Speaking of dementia ... Dementia Joe wears a surgical type mask over his m95 mask. Can never be too careful, or is it forgetful?

gilbar said...

doesn't it TOTALLY depend on, WHO you would be voting for?

If you have dementia, and want Trump... you SHOULDN'T VOTE: YOU ARE DEPLORABLE
If your person has dementia, and wants Trump... you SHOULDN'T VOTE: THEY ARE DEPLORABLE

If you have dementia, and want Biden... you SHOULD VOTE: YOU ARE WHAT AMERICAN NEEDS!
If you person has dementia, and wants Biden... you SHOULD VOTE: AMERICA NEEDS THAT VOTE!

gilbar said...

The Census Bureau has reported that more than 23 million American adults — close to 10 percent — have conditions limiting mental functioning,

and ALL will be Biden votes!

Big Mike said...

Man, i sure hope I never get dementia so bad I vote for a Democrat!

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Not everything is controlled by law. There is also a realm of ethics. Getting votes from people who don't understand what they are doing is rather obviously ethically wrong.

Only when Republicans do it.

Michael K said...

A nice story of a vote harvested.

Expat(ish) said...

There is no mental capability test for voting - I've seen terrifically handicapped people voting. I'm completely down with that because they live here too.

Plus we have a history of poll barriers with rigged tests, so best, honestly to err on the other side.

-XC

Ralph L said...

My dad's mail-in ballot must be witnessed by someone who isn't a commercial caregiver.

It's ethically wrong to cast someone's vote for a candidate he wouldn't have supported in his right mind, as it appears to happen in the post.

John henry said...

I have no problem at all with tests for voting. Literacy, perhaps a test on the constitution, mental fitness.

My problem would be with design and administration of the test. I don't know if it could be done fairly.

I believe there is no constitutional bar to testing, is there? Provided it is fair and non discrimatory.

I'd also be fine, in principal at least, with giving people multiple votes. Every citizen of age gets one vote. Citizens can earn additional votes based on contributions to us society.

Again, I have a lot of questions how, or if, this could be done fairly.

John Henry


Gahrie said...

A diagnosis of cognitive impairment does not bar someone from voting.

The cognitively impaired should not vote. Any process designed to exclude them legally however would be too easily abused. For instance setting an IQ limit would make sense logically. However doing so would have severe unpleasant racial effects. Instead, we rely on people to behave responsibly and not allow those cognitively impaired to vote.

Voters need pass no cognitive tests.

They used to have to at least figure out how to register, but now we do that for them.

Personally, I would go a step further, and create a system where you had to pass a civics test (similar to the one you take to become a citizen) to register to vote, and the voting rolls were automatically purged every twenty years (every second census) and you have to re-register.

They don’t have to be able to name the candidates or explain the issues.

And millions of them can't. That's the problem. That's why democracy sucks, and the Founders were right to oppose it. The biggest reason why our country is so fucked up, is that our politics are aimed at the least rational and most emotional voters.

Rob said...

What the hell. If Joe Biden can serve as President with dementia, then Edward Kozlowski can vote with it.

Ken B said...

Seems unfair. If you can run for President with dementia surely you can vote for president with dementia.

David Blaska said...

Someone's got to help Joe Biden vote, don't they?

bagoh20 said...

" 23 million American adults — close to 10 percent — have conditions limiting mental functioning,"

The Biden base.

Lurker21 said...


"If you knew you had dementia, would you refrain from voting? If you were caring for a person with dementia, would you refrain from helping them vote?"

Replace "voting" and "vote" with "running" and "run" and you have an even more relevant article.

As I understand it, people with some forms of dementia in some stages can have their lucid moments. If they are unaware of what's going on and just voting for the party they always do, they aren't entirely different from many voters without dementia.

RNB said...

The 'New York Times' editorial staff does not have ethics. They have a side. Whatever helps that side is ethical.

John henry said...

We're talking voting but what about people in office? Should dementia be disqualifying to run for president?

It's not constitutionally, of course.

John Henry

BADuBois said...

Boy, the news media are all in, aren't they.

Next up, why shouldn't the dead vote if we knew ahead of time his or her desires?

bagoh20 said...

"after a lifetime of voting Republican, ..."

If I was helping him, that would be the guiding information, unless he specifically told me he wanted to change that.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The cynic in me suspects that if the father had insisted on voting for Trump the daughter would have decided that he was to impaired to vote and would have committed election fraud, justifying it to herself with the excuse that he would have voted for Biden if he was in his right mind. If he decided to change his will to favor the daughter after a long talk with her wouldn't a court take notice if her relatives brought a lawsuit?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

In any event, the NYT is printing an article that encourages its readers to take advantage of their elderly, mentally impaired relatives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1VxaMEjRU

MayBee said...

I have a parent and an uncle who are going through varying stages of dementia. I would definitely help them vote. By bringing them to a voting place or answering their questions. I wouldn't do it for someone I don't know. But I know they still have their opinions and remain informed. My father reads the Wall Street journal every day. He's better informed than most people.

I don't know why dementia is singled out though. What about schizophrenic? Down syndrome? Depression? Brain injury?

MayBee said...

Yeah I think if someone suddenly changes to line up with your values, you are the one voting.

reader said...

My mother has dementia and is currently on hospice. I have her ballot and I know exactly how she would vote. Even with her dementia I could go through the ballot with her and parse down the issues. She was active politically on a personal and professional basis. Over the years she has worked for a political consultant, an assembly member, and multiple local representatives.

When I was little she used to work the polling place in the multi-purpose room of my elementary school. I would get so excited if I caught sight of her during the school day. It’s because of her that I took my son with me when every time I went to vote. Once he was in school I would pull him out of school an hour or two early as a treat on election days. After voting we’d get ice cream or some other treat. He went with me every time until he went to college. I wanted voting to be ingrained in him. I get morning voting day “I love you” texts from him and I text him pictures of my “I Voted” sticker.

I will not be helping my mother vote in this election. It seems fundamentally wrong.

Dave Begley said...

If your wife knew you had dementia, should she let you run for President?

Or is it the case that Joe must run for President in order to stay out of jail.

Wince said...

Clearly, the NYT's assessment is that people in the "caregiver" capacity tend to vote Democrat.

Hence the article.

AllenS said...

Judith Kozlowski is a rat. Shame on her.

Chris said...

Dementia, and Democrats go together. Both start with a D, both are just as dangerous behind the wheel.

Ken B said...

“You don’t want to vote for Trump though, right Dad?”
“Is it Friday?”
“Right, Biden it is.”

Omaha1 said...

This is a challenging question and relevant to my family. My Dad died of severe dementia in 2015, and I don't think anyone encouraged him to vote in 2012 or 2014. However my son is cognitively disabled and also a registered voter. In 2012 we requested absentee ballots since we were going to be out of town on election day. I tried to be as fair as possible in explaining the candidates and issues to him. I told him most young people like him were voting for Obama but that his step dad and I were voting for Romney, but he could choose whichever candidate he preferred. I would have marked his ballot for his choice because I am ethical that way. But I don't know if everyone is.

This year we also have the option of absentee voting and my son said he does not want to vote. Which is fine with me. I was very conflicted about him voting anyway. I fear that the ballots of dementia patients or the disabled will be completed by their caregivers and that there is a great potential for abuse. "Sign here!" Which they are accustomed to doing anyway even if they have no idea what they are signing. But I agree that it is wrong to take away people's voting rights on the basis of intelligence or mental competency.

Levi Starks said...

Since it’s happened locally, I assume it must be nationwide that Democrats ads are featuring “lifelong Republicans” who have suddenly decided to vote for Democratic candidates.

mikee said...

When the New York Times needs to publicly announce that Dems need to vote fraudulently for their demented relatives, I suspect the polls might be a bit closer than publicly announced, in favor of Trump.

So 370 electoral votes for Trump, is my guess....

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Both my mother and my mother-in-law had dementia. They were isolated in nursing homes and had no idea what was happening. Their short-term memory, especially for my mother-in-law, was very poor, they would repeat the same story over and over again. Anyone trying to help them vote was in reality just voting twice, with the second ballot being from the person being "helped."

DanTheMan said...

My MIL is in assisted living and has dementia. She doesn't recognize her own children or remember her husband of almost 50 years. She has no idea what year it is, or where she is.

I suspect she will vote with some "help" from a family member.

James K said...

Given that Biden is often rumoured to suffer from dementia, doesn't it make sense that he would win the demented vote?

What's the Roman Hruska line? "So what if he's demented? There are a lot of demented politicians and people. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they?"

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Progressives are proud of all the ways they cheat. I’m personally glad that they are so shameless and unethical out in the open where us normals can take note. It’ll be even more fun watching them melt down when it fails to make the difference. Again. After all, 2016 was so delicious this one will be extraordinary!

MayBee said...

I do not think SEIU member should "help" people in nursing homes vote, though.

gilbar said...

PB said...
No need to disclose who he voted for. No journalistic purpose.


maybe not a 'journalistic' purpose, but it serves a VITAL purpose: to show the way

worried about 'convincing' your brain dead parents to vote Biden? DON'T BE!
Read how Judith Kozlowski was able to 'determine' that her father REALLY WANTED BIDEN

Jupiter said...

There are problems with democracy. Perhaps we should get rid of it. Or should I say, perhaps I should get rid of it. Fuck the rest of you.

Meade said...

"I don't know why dementia is singled out though. What about schizophrenic? Down syndrome? Depression? Brain injury?"

Yes. Or being 18 years old. Brain is not fully developed. Still making stupid mistakes. Ask me — been there, done that. In 1972 I voted Democrat. George McGovern. It took 26 years for my brain to develop enough for me to realize the error of my ways and never again cast a vote for a Democrat. Democrats are all either demented, deranged or deluded. It's what makes them Democrats.

gspencer said...

If you have dementia?

Well, maybe you shouldn't vote.

But being POTUS and having ready access to the red button, that's probably okay.

James K said...

But I know they still have their opinions and remain informed.

That's the issue: Obviously it's a matter of degree, whether it's dementia or any other mental illness. In my father's case, I'm not sure I can say he's remained informed. I'm sure if he were he'd support Biden, as he's a lifelong (moderate) Democrat, but if I asked him basic questions like "Who is running for President?" I'm not sure he could answer. But nonetheless his caregivers helped him vote. If I had tried to stop it I would have gotten into a big brouhaha with my siblings. Not worth it.

Bilwick said...

"He allowed her to disclose that, after a lifetime of voting Republican, this time he had voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr...."

So the old man did have dementia . . .

rcocean said...

Calf is on the verge of giving 16-17 year olds the vote. The D's also support felons and crazy people to vote. Non-citizens and Illegal aliens are on "the honor system", against the Democrat election law to require proof of citizenship or even ask about it.

That strikes me as "unethical" - but white suburban women don't care. So that's that.

stever said...

Around here, dead people can vote.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

What if the daughter, in order to convince her father to change his will to favor her, told him that her siblings were the most racist racists there ever were and were literally worse than Hitler.

Francisco D said...

There is a reason Democrats bring out the Mediscare ads every four years. They are trying to scare cognitively compromised seniors into straight party voting.

My MIL was very highly motivated to vote this year because TV ads make it clear that the Republicans want to take away her healthcare and Social Security.

Bilwick said...

Come on, man! The key question is: if you knew you had dementia, should you run for president? By the way, did you know Corn Pop was a bad dude?

I'm Not Sure said...

"On Oct. 8, after considerable discussion, Judith Kozlowski helped her father make his selections. He allowed her to disclose that, after a lifetime of voting Republican, this time he had voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr...."

"Helping" somebody else vote for the candidate *you* prefer is bad enough, but publicly announcing what you've done as if there's nothing wrong with it takes a special sort of self-awareness deficit.

gilbar said...

reader said....
I have her ballot and I know exactly how she would vote.
I will not be helping my mother vote in this election. It seems fundamentally wrong.


so, we can take it as a given, that you and her did not vote the same party?

Roost on the Moon said...

Interesting question, worth subbing in some other cognitive handicaps (or evidence of such) for dementia to turn the knobs on the thought experiment:


"If you knew you had ______, would you refrain from voting? If you were caring for a person with ______, would you refrain from helping them vote?"


* hatred of the young
* a poor education
* little concern for others
* wide ignorance of history
* a propaganda news diet
* anger control issues
* internet addiction
* estranged children
* a belief that these are the "end times"

For what it's worth, my answers are, starting with dementia and going down the list:
yes/yes
no/no
yes/yes
no/no
yes/yes
no/no
yes/yes
yes/yes
yes/yes
no/no

rcocean said...

This brings up Joe Biden. He's obviously too old and not up to be being President, but here he is running for the job at 78, and "putting a lid" on it every other day. How is this man going to be an effective President? Is he just going to sit in the White House with "the lid on" - and let his aides and Harris run the country?

If Biden had been 'ethical' he would've stepped aside and let another D have the nomination. But as shown by McCain, Ginsberg, and Pelosi these old - out of touch geezers -just can't give up power. You have to take it out of their cold, dead hands.

Carol said...

I dunno, the GOP here has suspected for years that the Dems had a way to get at these votes via the nurses and social workers. You know, the ones who want to warn you the Republicans want to take away your Medicare!

But we've never been able to prove it. We certainly can't get at them. You couldn't get past the front desk before, and certainly not now.

Night Owl said...

Democrats are all either demented, deranged or deluded.

You left out "dead". The dead always vote for Democrats.

Night Owl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sydney said...

I was a poll watcher for the Obama-Romney election. Saw an entire group home for the mentally disabled brought in to vote by their caretakers. Couldn't do a damn thing about it, but yes, it is unethical. I know a woman who "helps" her severely autistic daughter vote. The daughter is considered too disabled to manage her own affairs. No need to guess which party she "helps" her vote for. I lost faith in our system that day I saw the group home come in to vote. Some of them brought their ballots up to me to ask if they had voted for Obama. That was also the day I realized the Democratic party is pure evil.

mockturtle said...

Meade confesses: In 1972 I voted Democrat. George McGovern.

I not only voted for McGovern, I was one of his WA campaign operatives. And was an abortion reform activist who gave speeches all over the county in favor of legalized abortion! Oh, the stupidity and sins of our youth! Thank heaven at least some of us grew up.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

My mom took care of her mom, who had Dementia.

My mom knew what her mom preferred political: the opposite of her

So when my mom filled out her mom's ballot, she filled it out the way her mom would want, not the way she would want.

The woman quoted in your last line is committing both elder abuse, and vote fraud

ga6 said...

This is why G-d allowed the ouja board to be created. t

Deanna said...

Her father has dementia but "he allowed her to disclose" a thing. Points for some very creative phraseology. I'm sorry (not sorry) but leftists are just the worst.

Jupiter said...

You know, thinking about the matter a bit more, I'm not sure that vote harvesting is inherently unethical. If you sincerely believe that the candidate you want to have win is the best candidate, for everyone, not just for yourself, then how can it be unethical to do whatever is possible to ensure he is elected? Conversely, if your reasons for preferring your candidate are purely selfish, then even casting your own vote is unethical.

There are problems with democracy.

hombre said...

I’m sure I’m not the first, but if the Democrats can run Demented Joe for President ....

Kay said...

One of my own arguments for why I usually don’t vote is that it’s impossible to ever have all, or even enough, information to make an turly informed decision.

mockturtle said...

'Knew you had dementia' is a catch-22. Do people with dementia really know they have it? There's a commercial where a guy is saying, "...but when I started seeing things..." My husband, who had Lewy Body Dementia, never knew he was 'seeing things' but insisted the things were real and I had to deal with these 'things' as if they were actually there, e.g., put out the fire in the middle of the floor, chase away the guy with the machete, etc., drive him 'home' when we were already home. My heart goes out to all those whose loved ones have dementia.

papper said...

Thank you for reading the New York Times, so I don't have to.

bonkti said...

It all boils down to the deplorables versus the demented.

bagoh20 said...

"But there are many people who don't know what they're doing and they shouldn't be urged to vote."

Imagine if you really acted on this. Do you tell people not to vote if they are just dumb, malinformed, or watch MSNBC? Of course, that's really all the same person.

bagoh20 said...

If you get someone to vote different than they would in their right mind, then you stole their vote, and you'd have a hard time convincing me you loved that person.

Iman said...

But there are many people who don't know what they're doing and they shouldn't be urged to vote.

If knowing what they’re doing is a requirement, mass disqualifications would ensue...

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"On Oct. 8, after considerable discussion, Judith Kozlowski helped her father make his selections. He allowed her to disclose that, after a lifetime of voting Republican, this time he had voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr...."

Thanks, Judith, for my first laugh out loud moment of the day. Imagine being such a huge piece of shit that you would exploit your own father for your own hysteria. In it's way, much worse than the rioting and assaults. I've avoided making generalizations up to this point but, Jesus, Democrats are human garbage.

robother said...

Meade: I'm reading the subtext of this post as a cry for help from Ann. Show her the way to fill out her ballot!

Mark said...

There is also a realm of ethics.

There is also the realm of voting fraud.

"Having Dementia Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Vote/Yes, you can help a cognitively impaired person participate in the election. But heed these two guidelines"

"Being in a Coma Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Vote/Yes, you can help a comatose person participate in the election. But heed these two guidelines"

Bay Area Guy said...

"If you knew you had dementia, would you refrain from voting?"

If I knew I had dementia, I would refrain from running for President.

n.n said...

Yes, it's religious/moral/ethical violation to exploit people in a debilitated state.

Sally327 said...

Is this Joseph Heller day at Althouse? If I am sane enough to realize that my mental condition might affect my cognitive abilities then I am probably sane enough to vote. Would I help someone else with dementia vote? Why not? Helping means I'm not co-opting that person's choice, I'm helping them with the process and if they are savvy enough to want to vote, I would think they had enough on the ball to tell me what candidates they wanted.

I think COVID-19 has solved this problem though, hasn't it? It has certainly thinned the ranks of the senile and bed-ridden segment of the population.

Skippy Tisdale said...

A diagnosis of cognitive impairment does not bar someone from voting.

The folks we have in office bears this out.

holdfast said...

If someone goes in o the polling place and fills out the ballot randomly, wether because of dementia or severe mental or cognitive disability, that’s not a threat to democracy, though it is kind of unfortunate. An organized campaign to harvest the ballots of the elderly by “helping” them to vote is a significant threat to democracy, and that’s what we are reading about here.

bagoh20 said...

I think Trump has a lot more support this time than in 2016, but the Dems expected him to lose that one, which made them lackadaisical about their cheating, and this time they know better, That is going to make the cheating irresistible to lots of Trump haters this time. People who thought is was wrong because Hillary was going to win anyway will let their situational ethics run wild. If we just had a few real journalist in this country, I could trust the election process, but they will cover up the cheating with a Rosie O'Donnell size pillow.

Nonapod said...

as well as family members, may refuse to assist impaired voters because they believe that dementia disqualifies them. It doesn’t.

It should be obvious that just because some action is technically legal doesn't mean it's ethical or moral. Even the highly enlightened, superior beings that make up the NYT readership should be capable of understanding that. But since they've determined that Trump and his voters are a great evil, I suppose they're preceeding under the notion that it's OK to do something that's unethical to stop such a greater evil.

Evidently it's also acceptable to vote for allow a person who has

1). Indisputably greatly enriched himself and his close family through highly unethical and probably illegal means by compromising American interests and security with foreign powers.

2). May well be suffering from the early stages of dementia.

Because in their minds Trump is a far greater evil for some reason that I can't entirely fathom.

Temujin said...

I'll one up you, Meade. In 1972 I worked on the campaign for George McGovern. I realized the folly of it when they bussed a bunch of us teenaged college students from Michigan State down to some very tough voting districts in Detroit. Our 'job' was to 'teach' confused black voters how to vote. I was appalled by the entire concept of it. I was disgusted by the assumption that us white college teenagers could teach any adult who was surviving a life in the toughest parts of one of the toughest cities in the country, how to do anything.

By the time we got back to the campaign branch there in Detroit, they were already calling the election for Nixon. I ate a cold spaghetti dinner on a paper plate, then boarded the bus back to East Lansing. On that ride back, I re-examined what was pulling on my gut: that me following liberals, clone-like, was actually against what saw from my own eyes. Not long after that, I picked up Ayn Rand. That led to Murray Rothbard, then Milton Friedman and the rest...as they say, is history. That was the only election in which I voted for a Democrat in my life. And as they've only gotten worse, I don't see me ever voting for a Democrat again. Ever.

As for dementia- my mom entered a nursing facility in Michigan on the last Friday before Michigan locked down, last March. She has dementia, but she comes in and out of in at various times. Some days she's clear and can converse about a number of things. Other times she'll be completely out of it, not in present time or dimension. But...from time to time she'll bring up politics to me, only to tell me that they are all yammering about the election around the nursing home. Apparently- senior seniors still get pulled and pushed by the networks. My mom did vote, via a mail in ballot that my sister helped her fill out- through a window and phone calls. This was done during one of her clear day clusters.

stevew said...

The included personal story illustrates perfectly the ethical problem and failure.

Michael K said...

I'd also be fine, in principal at least, with giving people multiple votes. Every citizen of age gets one vote. Citizens can earn additional votes based on contributions to us society.


John Henry, that is the theme of a Neville Shute novel in which he predicts a future for England and Australia. Sadly, he was wrong. Still an interesting story.

chuck said...

This makes me curios about the reader comments at the NY Times.

Amadeus 48 said...

It you are in suffering from dementia, should you run for president?
Asking for a friend.

Rick said...

Judith Kozlowski helped her father make his selections.

We can just say it outright, right?

Dog whistle.

Christy said...

We chose not to inform Mom that there was an election her last two cycles. She would have wanted to vote but didn't have a clue as to what was going on. I mildly regretted it as she would have turned to me for advice.

tcrosse said...

Ethics, schmethics. This is War, or so I am informed.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Expat(ish) said...
There is no mental capability test for voting - I've seen terrifically handicapped people voting. I'm completely down with that because they live here too.

Plus we have a history of poll barriers with rigged tests, so best, honestly to err on the other side.
******************

Sure. Why should it matter if you don't know what you're doing, that you don't know who you are voting for, and why?

I mean, it's only "fair".

SNORT

Joe Smith said...

You, AA, took yourself off the voting rolls...are you trying to tell us something?

Anyway, if you have dementia, how would you necessarily know?

Francisco D said...

mockturtle said...Do people with dementia really know they have it?

In a previous life, I performed a few hundred neuropsychological exams on seniors suspected of having Dementia.

The exams are pretty strenuous and the examiner needs to manage patients carefully or they will not give their best performance. (It is not the brief assessment test like the Montreal - it is a series of tests for different cognitive functions).

It was very easy to predict when dementia patients would give up on testing - Word List. It took a lot of clinical skill to keep them calm and focused because it was very often their first indication that something was wrong.

So to answer your question Mock, I believe that the majority of dementia patients do not know that they are demented until they are face to face with the evidence.

hstad said...

Did the NY Times also have a similar article entitled - 'Being Dead Doesn't Mean You Can't Vote/Yes, you can help a dead person participate in the election. But heed these two guidelines - 1) only have a professional fill out the ballot; and 2) don't get caught.'

Ann Althouse said...

"You, AA, took yourself off the voting rolls...are you trying to tell us something? Anyway, if you have dementia, how would you necessarily know?"

1. I blog every day and thousands of people read me. If the quality declined, I think some people would point it out.

2. I do the NYT crossword every day on an app that records my time. I always complete it and my time keeps going down. Almost every day, I get a time that's faster than my average. I don't think that would happen if I had dementia.

Rick said...

John henry said...
Citizens can earn additional votes based on contributions to us society.


This is a bad idea given what our culture seems to consider contributions. According to Obama if you make cars, grow food, or build homes you're greedy, not paying your fair share, and damaging America. If you join academia, media, or nonprofits to write articles about how terrible America is and Americans are or join government to develop inquisitorial institutions and procedures you're in "public service".

Sebastian said...

"If you knew you had dementia, would you refrain from voting? If you were caring for a person with dementia, would you refrain from helping them vote?"

Racism alert: cognitive functioning among older black adults tends to be worse than among whites, so --

Amadeus 48 said...

Althouse— you don’t have dementia. You process things really quickly, which is obvious to anyone who reads your blog.

Joe Smith said...

@AA

It was a joke : )

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

mockturtle, thanks for pointing that out. Yes, if you know you have dementia, I would say that you are sufficiently aware of yourself still to know whether you can or can't vote. If you want very much to vote, because it was drilled into you early on that all good people voted, and yet you can no longer read the candidates' names -- or, for that matter, remember anything at all about them -- then I'd say not, but generally speaking dementia isn't like that; you can still read and process what you're reading. I'm going to stay out of the "Is Joe demented?" kerfuffle, but obviously the man can read and process simple decision-making tasks.

What to do with the actually illiterate is a separate problem, one not confined to cases of mental defect; you can be mentally sharp as a tack and yet incapable of voting if you don't know the language or even the alphabet. How do we handle such cases now? If voting was in-person, as it was nearly everywhere until fairly recently, I assume a poll worker would help. That's potentially risky, but I think nearly all poll workers take their responsibilities seriously. Nurses, caretakers, and the nearest and dearest are, IMO, much more likely to be unscrupulous. (This is why all the onerous hedges round absentee ballots -- requirements for observers, notaries, &c. -- there's been all the hoo-ha about. They are designed to make fraud difficult.)

mockturtle said...

2. I do the NYT crossword every day on an app that records my time. I always complete it and my time keeps going down. Almost every day, I get a time that's faster than my average. I don't think that would happen if I had dementia.

Don't be too sure. My husband, until the latter stages of his disease, was still doing the Telegraph Cryptic Crossword, which I printed out for him every day. It is MUCH more challenging than the NYT crosswords, I assure you.

rehajm said...

If you knew you had dementia, would you refrain from voting?

If you know you have dementia you probably still have sufficient cognitive ability to continue to vote or choose to refrain.

Yancey Ward said...

Not something I have had to deal with. My father was still competent enough in 2016 to go in and vote all by himself, and he died a couple of months before the 2018 elections.

I think if you can navigate the process by yourself, you can vote with a good conscience- if you can't do this, then the question devolves to the "caretakers". If my father were alive today, I would just ask him straight out, "Who do you want to vote for?" If he could answer that question without prompting, I would fill out the ballot for him and mail it in. If he couldn't, then I wouldn't because it would just feel wrong to me, even though I would know for certain the answer he would have given if competent.

Jupiter said...

"If you get someone to vote different than they would in their right mind, then you stole their vote, and you'd have a hard time convincing me you loved that person."

You are regarding "the vote" as a valuable possession, like a share of a corporation. But it isn't. Its a perishable good, whose only value lies in the fact that it selects the people who will make up the government. If I believed, honestly believed, that Biden planned to introduce mass forcible euthanasia for everyone over 70, wouldn't it be an act of love to somehow get my crazy left-wing older sister to vote for Trump? What's a few lies, tricks and blatant misrepresentations when you're trying to save someone's life!

Yancey Ward said...

As for Kozlowski's anecdote about her father- I don't believe her story at all- he suddenly changes a lifetime of voting habits the one time he needs help filling out a ballot? Sure, that sounds completely believable.

Jupiter said...

"Almost every day, I get a time that's faster than my average. I don't think that would happen if I had dementia."

So when the average starts to go up ...

NYC JournoList said...

Cognitive decline starts for all of us earlier than we realize. The only question is if it has gone too far.

https://blog.aarp.org/healthy-living/how-early-does-cognitive-decline-begin-earlier-than-you-think

minnesota farm guy said...

People suffering from senile dementia are no crazier than people suffering from antifa. From personal experience it becomes pretty obvious when a senior is no longer capable of making a voting decision - or any other kind.

JohnAnnArbor said...

He allowed her to disclose that, after a lifetime of voting Republican, this time he had voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr....

BIG surprise. I'm sure there was no pressure there.

Nursing-home patients, with lefty and sometimes unionized caregivers, are preyed on like this. Do you want to take bets on the percentage of absentee ballots from such facilities, if tallied together as a batch, that would turn out to be straight-ticket Democrat? I'm guessing well over 90%.

NYC JournoList said...

Slightly off topic but related to mental decline. Half of American’s in their eighties are cognitively impaired. They are more likely to be bamboozled and lose ability to perform math and absorb new realities about the world. Joe? Is this you? We should be concerned about Trump also, but he is younger than Joe and seems to be less traveled along the curve we are all on.

https://www.morningstar.com/articles/384033/plan-for-incapacity-before-you-need-to

Yancey Ward said...

"1. I blog every day and thousands of people read me. If the quality declined, I think some people would point it out."

Uh oh- you shouldn't tee it up like that.

JohnAnnArbor said...

It occurs to me that they would not be publishing these kinds of articles if they believed the polls.

Yancey Ward said...

Here is the lengthy conversation that likely occurred between Kozlowski and her father:

"Dad, who do you want to vote for?"

"Nixon."

"Nixon is dead, Dad. Your choices are Trump and Biden."

"Uh......I bid 4 hearts."

"Dad, you don't play Bridge any more. The election- do you want to vote for Biden or Trump for President?"

"Uh......I bid 4 no trump."

"Ok, Biden it is! Smart choice, Dad! Can I write about your choice, Dad?"

"You know Charles Goren? I didn't know that, always wanted to meet him, honey. Can I have pudding?"

mockturtle said...

While my husband's word skills lasted through most of his illness his executive function deteriorated rapidly. I got him a little Lincoln Log set thinking he might enjoy building, as he was actually quite skilled in that department, but he was unable to fit even one log upon the other. And after his paints and canvas was set before him he didn't know what to do with them and he had painted many fine paintings when he was well. So there are different types of dementia with entirely different symptoms.

Stephen said...

Not a very thoughtful post for someone who purports to be a friend of freedom.

Diminished capacity due to dementia is not an on off switch either practically or legally, even for activities where capacity is legally required. Instead, it is evaluated activity by activity, decision by decision. The law has evolved that way precisely because of concerns for personal liberty.

Sure, if a person literally has no idea what they are doing, or is delusional, or worse still no ability to fill out a ballot or communicate their preference, they should not be voting. These are fine lines, though. Q Anon supporters are pretty clearly delusional, in some important sense, but I don't see any serious argument they shouldn't be allowed to vote.

But not everyone who has dementia will fall into those categories. One of my closest friends is institutionalized because dementia disables him from taking care of himself, but it is clear to me that his values and his general political preferences are both coherent and consistent with his pre dementia preferences. Moreover, I don't think there is any real likelihood of someone seeking to manipulate those preferences. It's not at all obvious to me that he should not vote, if he would like to do so.

Rick said...

Or being 18 years old. Brain is not fully developed. Still making stupid mistakes

The problem is not the brain, it's life experience. Most 18 year olds only know what they've been taught in school and from the culture they're immersed in. Some lucky few learn some from their families as well. It's easy to believe the left's message when you're in a controlled environment. I mean controlled not just in the sense competing theories are eliminated but also that a controlled environment allows systems which cannot function in free space.

Most people need to leave the school environment to see how things really work before they realize the framework they've been taught isn't reality. This is why leftists hate free society and want everyone to work for government (directly or indirectly). In that similarly controlled environment fewer people will realize the dysfunction of the left's program.

rcocean said...

BTW, you may not have dementia. You may just be stupid. Check your history.

DavidUW said...

Stuff like this makes me feel a lot better about filling out my dead grandmother's ballot.

reader said...

gilbar you could assume that, but you’d be wrong ;) As far as affiliation, I saw the light after a brief rebellion in my twenties.

My mother was very well informed and knew who sponsored what and why for state/local issues. I’d sit down with her with my sample ballot, go over everything, and get the skinny.

Big Mike said...

The dead always vote for Democrats.

I am trying to stay alive as long as possible, because while I’m alive I can and do vote Republican. As soon as I’m dead my ballots will be marked Democrat.

MadisonMan said...

When I see an article on Dementia, I figure it's groundwork being laid down for a 25th Amendment coup in which Harris will joyfully engage.

Kevin said...

Shorter article: Yes you can vote Joe, even if Jill has to fill out your ballot.

cornroaster said...

Big Mike said...
Man, i sure hope I never get dementia so bad I vote for a Democrat!

I sure hope I never vote for a Democrat after I die.

Kevin said...

Vice President Nappity-Nap is off the campaign trail until the debate.

They've already called it.

No press interactions until Thursday.

Freeman Hunt said...

For some reason we've erroneously applied criminal justice thinking ("it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer") to voting. It is not at all better that 100 fraudulent votes should be cast than that one eligible voter should be disenfranchised, but that's how we operate. Every fraudulent vote disenfranchises someone who voted the opposite way. The equivalent in criminal law would be if for every guilty person set free, an innocent one were locked up!

Regardless of what the law says, voting for someone with dementia is morally equivalent to fraud.

bagoh20 said...

"I do the NYT crossword every day on an app that records my time. I always complete it and my time keeps going down. Almost every day, I get a time that's faster than my average. I don't think that would happen if I had dementia."

That sounds a lot like something Joe Biden would say when challenged. Next thing you'll tell us is you graduated top of your class, and want to arm wrestle.

You must realize that the NYT is demented, so their crossword puzzle is geared toward that.

Leora said...

As a teenager I assisted nursing home residents to go to the polls to vote by helping them get in a van provided by one of the parties. Almost all of them were lifelong party line voters who maintained their enthusiasm for their side. We transported both sides. I remember one woman who declined going to the polls since she couldn't read the papers any more and didn't trust the tv.

pacwest said...

Alls I know is that I'm voting Republican well into the 3000nds.

pacwest said...

It's in my will.

NCMoss said...

Careful Joe Smith, Althouse is throwing some "cross" words your way.

walter said...

Biden for Senate!

James K said...

I not only voted for McGovern, I was one of his WA campaign operatives.

I volunteered for his campaign. But then, I was 12 years old, so that's my excuse. I think I licked stamps and envelopes.

mockturtle said...

Keen observation, Freeman Hunt at 12:47!

Bill said...

How do you think democrats get elected, besides a public school education...

Rabel said...

"I aspire to expedite his exit from the national stage by every legal means."

"So take your ethical correctness and shove it up your ass."

- Megan McArdle

Admittedly, I can't find a reliable source for the second quote.

Rabel said...

"1. I blog every day and thousands of people read me. If the quality declined, I think some people would point it out."

You had a severe and inexplicable mental lapse discussing the timing of the Katie Hill throuple story.

Just trying to be helpful.

RMc said...

after a lifetime of voting Republican, this time he had voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr.

I can't help but laugh at these stories; they come around every four years, like clockwork, and they're always the same. There's never a story that highlights some old gal who says, "I've been voting Democrat since FDR, but this time it's different! All the way for the GOP...!"

Rabel said...

"Almost every day, I get a time that's faster than my average."

Quantitative skills are among the first to go.

Joe Smith said...

"Careful Joe Smith, Althouse is throwing some "cross" words your way."

Ha!

I thought I was making an obvious joke...I guess not...I don't always agree with her but she is undoubtedly very sharp...

pacwest said...

I sure hope I never vote for a Democrat after I die.

Good luck with that.

JaimeRoberto said...

In the good old days of communist eastern Europe, ballot harvesters would go through the hospitals collecting votes. It sounds so nice and democratic, but of course there was an implied threat too. You better vote the right way, because we are controlling your health care.

mikee said...

My mother-in-law in CO moved to a nursing home last fall, with rather severe dementia, and her former home was rented out by her conservator/daughter. MIL's voter registration has NOT been updated with her new address, because conservator/daughter is herself 65 years old and somewhat ditzy.

Colorado mailed every registered voter a ballot.
The renter at her former home has by now gotten her ballot.
Yay, free extra vote for the renter!

And people dare say that universal vote by mail is full of fraud!

Night said...

Dementia and other mental illness have a spectrum to them. Its ok for them to vote. Voting could be part of their lucid stability. Nursing homes should be cruelly neutral and presents a voting event for all residents where issues are presented lucidly to them.

Many people don't want to vote and they should be respected and allowed that. My fear is the karenocracy activists who see it as a divine evangelicals right to determine someone elses life for them. Should be a test and a barrier for them for they have more problems than the person with dementia.

Night said...

mikee said...

Yay, free extra vote for the renter!

And people dare say that universal vote by mail is full of fraud!

** Good point. One time Amazon deliver my packages to my old address. I went there and the person denied receiving them. Amazon said let them keep the package and we'll replace them for you.

In this case the ballot will be left as delivered but you won't receive a replacement one unless you call customer service.

PackerBronco said...

On Oct. 8, after considerable discussion, Judith Kozlowski helped her father make his selections
=======
In other words, after endless badgering, her sick and feeble father caved.

Bob said...

Kay said, "One of my own arguments for why I usually don’t vote is that it’s impossible to ever have all, or even enough, information to make an turly informed decision."

I've thought this way since I was 21, which is a lot of moons ago. But I vote anyway, confident in the knowledge my vote is no more ignorant (or demented) than the average vote.

JAORE said...

I MIGHT accept that, in days gone by, the dementia vote is small or tends to be balanced. But just like mail in voting is unlike absentee ballots, what we have now is vote harvesting.

So now multiply that small number by the population of nursing homes (and cemeteries) and tilt the field sharply left.

Bob said...

"In other words, after endless badgering, her sick and feeble father caved."

"C'mon, Dad!. He's just like you! He has mush for brains!"

JAORE said...

"after considerable discussion, [my wife and I concluded] Judith Kozlowski [committed elder abuse]

But she's oh so proud of the outcome.

Readering said...

Here's a post that will influence no one.

Francisco D said...

I not only voted for McGovern, I was one of his WA campaign operatives.

It was my sophomore year of college and the first time I voted in a presidential election. I was absolutely convinced that McGovern would win.

I was not living in a bubble. My parents became Republicans in the sixties, actually because of the sixties. However I was still a lefty because we were the good guys and they were the bad guys. It was a basic tenet of popular culture.

In that sense, I am less worried about dementia patients voting than I am about kids with poorly developed reasoning skills voting.

Rockport Conservative said...

Last week in the Corpus Christi Caller Times the obituary for a 100+ year old woman said she had handed in her absentee ballot for the Democratic nominees to make sure if she died her vote was counted. I don't know if that is legal. I would have kept the information to myself if it were my relative to make sure their ballot was not thrown out. I am elderly, I am in Texas, early voting started last week. I voted. Just so you know it was Republican. If I should die, don't tell.

Indigo Red said...

I am struggling with this question, myself. Should I help or allow my mother to vote? Mother is experiencing dementia and like many others has good and bad hours of the day. She recalls memories from long ago, but not five minutes ago. She's a lifelong Democrat and has never remembered the party of which she is a member. She voted for FDR because he reminded her of her father, JFK because he was so handsome, Carter because he was a farmer, Kerry because he reminded her of JFK. She voted for Obama* twice because she wanted to be part of history though she detested his wife. I know how she will vote, but she has no sympathy for the candidate's policies and abhors his running mate. She agrees nearly completely with the other candidate's policies and believes his running mate is an upright Christian. Do I help her vote for the candidate of her party with whom she disagrees or the candidate of the other party with whom she agrees but finds crude? I also know that I will mark her choices, not mine though I know her choices will harm me personally as did her choice of Obama*. Or, should I do nothing and hope she forgets she has a ballot, or to mail it? What to do, what to do? She longer has control of her finances, she is not allowed to drive, she has people to monitor her medications, is it time to stop voting?

Yancey Ward said...

Who is helping Readering vote?

Michael K said...

Well, at least Cuomo cut way down on the nursing home vote harvesting in New York.

Sebastian said...

@Althouse: "If the quality declined, I think some people would point it out."

The question is not whether we'd point it out, but how you would interpret it.

Dementia can lead to denial and discounting. One doesn't read the signals properly anymore.

In your case, my sense is that while you are very open to examining different views, you are also very resistant to direct criticism, on the assumption that you typically know better, or simply prefer your own approach, or don't owe anyone any justification for anything. That already produces some discounting. For those of us who might care enough to point out declining quality, the question after long experience is whether it will make any difference--so there is in fact also the question of whether we regulars would bother to point it out. I'm not saying we wouldn't -- and I can think of one instance where my own criticisms have altered your approach a bit, but I think it would be better to rely on signals in your immediate social environment. When in doubt, ask Meade.

cacimbo said...

An ugly story of people putting politics ahead of family. My impression is that Ms. Kozlowski does not respect her father.

cacimbo said...

An ugly story of people putting politics ahead of family. My impression is that Ms. Kozlowski does not respect her father.

readering said...

Y Ward: Being in CA it's amazing the amount of help I'm getting. A tragedy watching the voter suppression efforts the GOP is engaging in elsewhere in the country.

Don said...

If you can’t do a quadratic equation you should not be allowed to vote.

Sally327 said...

...I think it would be better to rely on signals in your immediate social environment. When in doubt, ask Meade.

And what if he's gaga?

walter said...

Readering said...

Here's a post that will influence no one.

10/19/20, 3:31 PM
--
Readering speaks truth! 10/19/20, 3:31 PM Mark it.

Tina Trent said...

My mother made my father buy a Volare because of the theme song.

26 recalls in the first year alone.

Unknown said...

To observe for yourself this vote harvesting from persons with declined/impaired cognitive ability, sign up to be an observer of voting conducted by special voting deputies in nursing homes. Nursing home voting is conducted a few weeks prior to an election, under the auspices of the local municipality (ex: City of Madison), by hand-picked special voting deputies. They have rules to follow, but if no one is watching.....