AARP, Arizona Elections Officials Reach Out To Voters In Long-Term Care, Hospitals

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Friday, October 23, 2020 - 9:33am
Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 12:26pm

Dana Marie Kennedy speaks at a press conference
Kathy Ritchie/KJZZ
Dana Marie Kennedy speaks at a press conference at the Arizona Capitol on Oct. 22, 2020.

Eligible Arizona voters living in long-term care and hospitals have until 5 p.m. Friday to request a ballot for the upcoming presidential election. 

The message from AARP Arizona was clear.

"Just because you're in a long-term care facility doesn't mean that you're not able to vote," said AARP’s state director Dana Marie Kennedy.

She, along with Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, held a press conference at the Capitol on Thursday.

"The number one recommendation we have made all year, and item number one in the FAQ is to request your ballot by mail," said Hobbs.

The FAQ she’s talking about is a document with information for voters long-term care or at the hospital.

"As well as about who can assist you with filling out your ballot, if that's necessary," she added.

Like requesting a special election board, made up of a bipartisan team who provide help filling out the ballot.

Maricopa County Adrian Fontes talked about the special election boards, which can now be done via video in certain cases. 

"We've had 144 requests for assistance under the special election board rubric," he said. "Some of these voters are gaining access, specifically in long-term care facilities that are under quarantine."

Fontes said at least two long term care residents will use the virtual/telephonic option because they are in quarantine.

Fontes had sought a court order allowing special election boards to use video if a trusted relative or caregiver was unavailable to help.

But it's not just older adults with disabilities. Democratic Rep. Jennifer Longdon spoke at Thursday's press conference.

"We have a lot of young people 18 years or older and long-term care facilities, because the nature of their disabilities means that they cannot live without a tremendous amount of assistance in in, in private life."

Longdon said everyone is entitled to vote with the assistance of their choice. 

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