Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Voting, cognition, and Multiple Sclerosis

Oh, it is never boring voting with Patti. Her Multiple Sclerosis symptoms: legally blind, short term memory loss, cognitive impairment, and inability to modulate her voice volume can turn whispered assistance into … what I call ballot envy. Certainly “What the f#ck is a  prothonotary?” brought chuckles from way too many other voters.

coroner (vote for one)
Patti: “It’s a stupid idea.”
Patrick: “Stupid idea is not a choice, Democrat or Republican”
Patti: “Republican”
Patrick: “Why?”
Patti: (laughing) “They are probably better with dead people.”

Now way too many other voters are enjoying lingering and I am feeling like the straight man in a comedy routine.

Pennsylvania has no State Constitutional disqualification provision for citizens with cognitive or mental disabilities with or without assistance.

Sadly this is not true for citizens in half the United States. You can view your own State Laws Affecting the Voting Rights of People with Mental Disabilities

The National Network for Election Reform reports that beyond legal obstacles too often disabled voters encounter voting challenges, voting tests, and denial of effective assistance.

“Friends and fellow citizens: I stand before you tonight under indictment for the alleged crime of having voted.” Susan B Anthony
Poll workers often deny individuals the right to get assistance from a person of their choice and insist that an election worker(s) must assist the voter - so TRUE and our most uproarious and entertaining election memory. Voting & MS

Patti wants to vote at a polling station like everyone else, no absentee ballot alternative for her.

Pushing Patti toward the door we were surrounded by a dozen last minute campaign pitches and offered handshakes. One candidate simply opened the door for us, remarking “I thought you two might appreciate a hand.” … we thanked him with our two votes for school board.

Whether voting is a right, privilege, or responsibility or whether federal, state, or local it is what we do in spite of obstacles and enjoy!

By the way, Republican won Coroner, and door opener won School Board, so much for political science.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site:
musings: Patrick Ponders ...


  1. LOL, Patrick. The story you shared a bit ago about Patti's voting experience (and perhaps that is what you highlighted with the link, I didn't open it) still brings chuckles to me when I think about it.

    The wonderful thing is Patti STILL wants to vote! she's an inspiration to those who don't take this basic right seriously

    and why does it matter if a coroner is Republican or Democrat???


  2. We still have work to do. It is like a rollercoaster. Way to go, Patti! WE MUST VOTE.

  3. Hi there, I was searching the blogs for "blind multiple sclerosis" and found your blog. I'm blind from ultiple sclerosis, but have yet to find anyone else like me. The voting sure sounds like an adventure, I did absentee ;)


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