Nov 8, 2008

This Is Somewhat Disturbing

From Stuff

Relatives of a dementia patient in a Christchurch rest home were shocked to discover the woman, who cannot recognise her own family, had voted in the election.

A family friend said a young family member was surprised to find the rest home resident wearing a badge proclaiming "I voted today".

The woman could not remember voting.

Alzheimer's NZ national director Lucille Ogston said there were many people living with mild dementia in the community who made "excellent decisions every day" and were competent to vote.

"But if we're talking about someone who no longer recognises loved ones, that's a whole different level of impairment ... If someone is having to tick the boxes for them, I suppose that's open to manipulation."

However, chief electoral officer Robert Peden said there was no obligation for receiving officers electoral workers sent out to collect special votes in rest homes and hospitals to decide if someone was actually competent to vote.

"As long as someone is registered to vote and can mark the paper themselves, or instruct someone on how they want it marked, they can vote."