Should person who has lost capacity vote?

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by Wifenotcarer, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. Wifenotcarer

    Wifenotcarer Registered User

    Mar 11, 2018
    265
    Central Scotland
    I am really upset today to discover that DH (with Dementia) has been written off as 'lacking capacity' and denied a vote in the GE. This is a man who has been for nearly 50 years (and still is) a Party Member, donor and activist, who has voted in every election and referendum, always in the same way. If he had any other illness or condition, medical or mental health, he would be permitted to vote.

    Perhaps this is why Social Care is so low on the political agenda when the people most affected by the lack of it are denied a vote.
     
  2. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,986
    Female
    I can understand why you are upset about it. However I can also see why it is not a good idea for a carer to automatically be able to do a proxy vote (even aside from the point of view of fraud). My OH has always voted for a certain party. So if my OH was my PWD*, my assumption as a proxy would be to put the cross in that box. But my assumption would be wrong, because this is a strange election and my OH will for the first time ever be voting for the other party - which I never thought would happen in my lifetime.

    *OH is entirely compos mentis. My PWD is my mother, she doesn't have capacity, and I have no idea how she would vote in the current circumstances.
     
  3. northumbrian_k

    northumbrian_k Registered User

    Mar 2, 2017
    899
    Male
    Newcastle
    I am surprised by your post @Wifenotcarer. My understanding of the advice given by the Alzheimer's society (above) is that a person cannot be stopped from voting due to lack of capacity. If he is on the electoral register he is entitled to vote. Who has 'written off' your husband and 'denied' him a vote?

    It is worth restating the advice given above as it is very clear:

    "The law and rules on voting is that someone cannot be stopped from voting due to lacking capacity, which enables a person to vote for as long as they wish to. However, it doesn’t mean an attorney or loved one can say the person lacking capacity still has a right to vote and as a result, make a voting decision on their behalf."
     
  4. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,986
    Female
    That's fine if the person is capable of completing the process themselves (whether at a polling station or by postal vote). But from what the OP has said earlier, she would need to do it as proxy for her husband.
     
  5. Wifenotcarer

    Wifenotcarer Registered User

    Mar 11, 2018
    265
    Central Scotland
    No that is not the case. My OH is perfectly capable of completing a postal vote form himself. He can read, sign his signature and make a X in the right box. He would have no problem in stating his preference. If he were still at home, I would give some guidance on completing the forms, putting them in the right envelope and then post his vote.

    However he is in a Care Home, where the process is that a person from the Registry office visits and decides which residents can vote. In OH's case they did not interview him but having seen the POA document, lodged with the Care Home, which has attached a statement from a doctor that he 'no longer has capacity', that was that, no vote!!!

    It annoys and concerns me that if , say, OH followed a particular religion or was an avid football fan, staff in the home would do everything they could to continue to follow that interest, without every questioning if the person still had the capacity to commit to that religion or team -but- if the residents passion is of a political nature, they can be deprived of a vote and banned from displaying a poster in their room or wearing a badge.
     
  6. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,986
    Female
    Thanks for clarifying that, earlier you said "Do I have the right as his POA to vote on his behalf in this internal party contest and later in a local or general election?" so I assumed you were talking about proxy voting.
     
  7. northumbrian_k

    northumbrian_k Registered User

    Mar 2, 2017
    899
    Male
    Newcastle
    I can't comment directly from experience but from what I have seen the Electoral Commission is keen that people should be registered to vote and hence have the opportunity to vote in person, by proxy or by post, whichever is most suitable for their circumstances. This is set out in specific guidance for care home staff in Scotland (a similar document applies to England & Wales):

    https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/media/5147
     
  8. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    This is a very interesting discussion, particularly watching the last three years of events in UK from the other side of the world. Having lived in England for a number of years, UK current affairs are quite familiar to me.

    I know that things are different here but some principles remain no matter where we are.

    My husband had never voted in any election anywhere until he became an Australian citizen. At the actual naturalization ceremony, reps from the Electoral Commission were waiting and nobody got out the door until they were registered.

    OH is now over five years into AD and to date has voted in every election. If it is a postal vote, I prepare everything and then leave him to complete the vote. If we have to attend, I show him sample papers from the newspapers prior to going and when we have our papers, I take him to a booth and leave him to it.

    When he can no longer do this, I will arrange through my GP to have him taken off the roll. I would not assist him to vote unless he had a physical incapacity to mark his paper but was still able to instruct me.

    Voting is not just a right but a responsibility and very different to commitment to a sporting team or choosing to belong to a particular religion. I respect that right and would strongly resent anyone voting on my behalf so don't believe I have the right to do that for anyone else.
     
  9. imthedaughter

    imthedaughter Registered User

    Apr 3, 2019
    120
    Interestingly the CH asked me for Dad's NI so they could register him to vote as they told me they had to! Dad is still keenly interested in current affairs so will want to vote but of course hadn't thought to register or any of that stuff. I registered him as by the time I was home to dig out his NI the deadline was looming.

    There is a point of view that older people such as those in care homes perhaps should not be voting - given the speed of things changing is glacial, they won't be around to see the consequences, but as someone earlier said, older people may well care more about social care etc being on the 'front line' of it so it probably balances out!
     
  10. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    I think older people do care about the legacy they will be leaving behind. After all, we realize that we have made a proper mess of things.

    There's that old saying:

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
     
  11. Aquamoon

    Aquamoon Registered User

    May 4, 2017
    2
    That's very interesting .My mum ,who does not have dementia, has a postal vote but her signature is needed.Also I have been on yougov that says there is no on line voting Is it only if you have dementia that there is no signature required and you are allowed on line voting?
     
  12. Aquamoon

    Aquamoon Registered User

    May 4, 2017
    2
    Sorry meant to say GOV.UK not yougov.:)
     
  13. theunknown

    theunknown Registered User

    Apr 17, 2015
    384
    Your line, Lawson58, 'would strongly resent anyone voting on my behalf' has now clarified the situation for me when it could be a slightly complicated issue. My mum was the person with dementia, I know the party she'd always voted for, I know the party my husband votes for, I've never had to consider this situation but, yes, I would 'would strongly resent' somebody voting for me if I wasn't able to be an active part of the voting process at the time.
     
  14. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Yep! A vote is something you can't actually give to someone else or even lend it.

    I am rather of the opinion that Brexit has managed to focus a lot of attention for Brits on the value of a vote. I was working in UK during a general election and was surprised at how few people in my office bothered to vote. A few months earlier I had joined a huge queue of Australians lining up outside Australia House to vote in a federal election back home. I think it's great that people really want to vote, to have a say.
     
  15. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,429
    Male
    Cornwall
    Ballot Paper attached PDF No Signature required
     

    Attached Files:

  16. charlie10

    charlie10 Registered User

    Dec 20, 2018
    391
    Isn't it an offence NOT to vote in Australia, Lawson? Maybe it ought to be compulsory everywhere, would certainly focus people's minds......
     
  17. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    In Australia, we have something called compulsory voting but it's not exactly as it sounds. You can arrange postal votes or turn up at a polling booth and unless you have a very good reason for not voting you can be fined.

    However! How you mark your ballot paper is a private matter and if you choose you can leave it blank, fold it and put it in the ballot box. People sometimes write obscene things on the paper, scribble over them etc so it's a case of getting your name marked off the electoral roll.

    Mostly, we complain and whine about politicians and about having to vote when we would rather be doing other things and there are always those who have no interest in politics.

    I can remember walking down to the corner of our street with my dad to listen to a candidate addressing a small crowd of people - no barrage of TV ads in those days. I guess I grew up in a family that was interested in politics before that became a dirty word and before you had to be wealthy to stand as a candidate.

    But I do value my right to a vote.
     
  18. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Forgot to mention that even though I was not a British citizen, I could vote in UK elections. Apparently there are about 400,000 Australians currently able to vote in the upcoming election.
     

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