September 23, 2020

Voting & Cognitive Impairments


Assisting Cognitively Impaired Individuals with Voting: A Quick Guide 

Difficulties in communication can occur when assisting a voter who has a cognitive impairment. The techniques and tips described  in this guide will help make sure that your communication is as effective as possible and within the limits of  assistance permitted by election laws. 

The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, with funding from the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging and the Greenwall Foundation, is conducting a project to identify, publicize, and catalyze policy and practice strategies nationwide that promote proper access to the polls by persons with cognitive impairments and protect against the fraudulent manipulation of the vote of this population.

The project, Accommodating Cognitive Impairments in Voting: Shaping Clinically and Ethically Sound Institutional and Public Policy, will accomplish these goals by:

  • Surveying state election policies and activities addressing accommodations for persons with cognitive impairment in order to identify promising practices;
  • Developing an easily accessible clearinghouse of information and resources on the subject;
  • Identifying and describing the experiences in the November 2008 election of those election boards that provide direct outreach and support to residents of long-term care facilities and publishing a report of the findings;
  • Supporting and evaluating a demonstration project of "mobile polling" in Vermont and publishing the evaluation in a peer-reviewed journal.

This website accomplishes the second goal of the project by developing an easily accessible clearinghouse of information and resources on the subject, including findings from the first, third and fourth goals of the project.

Clearinghouse Materials

ABA Legislative Policies on Voting


Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law Materials

Congressional Hearings

Election Assistance Commission Materials

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Materials

National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform


State Law

State Resources








Symposium Facilitating Voting as People Age: Implications of Cognitive Impairment


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