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Rhode Island Ombudsman's Office Fights for the Voting Rights of Long Term Care Residents

Voting is one of the most important rights and responsibilities that citizens of the United States have. Although over 160 million Americans are qualified to vote, sadly, many do not choose to exercise this right. They forfeit a chance to choose leaders and representatives who make important decisions about legislation that could affect their daily lives. Yet, there is a portion of our society that is ready, willing, and able to vote but are often denied this right because of where they live.

Kathleen Heren, RI State Ombudsman

Long term care residents -- the elderly and those with disabilities -- historically have had a harder time accessing voting locations due to mobility, health, and other issues that interfere with one of their most important constitutional rights. Voting records indicate that these individuals have a turnout much lower than that of non-institutionalized citizens, a statistic that Rhode Island's State Ombudsman Kathleen Heren, a tireless advocate for those in long-term care, wants to