The right to vote
With a general election just around the corner, it’s a good time to remember that people with dementia have the same right to vote as everyone else.
No one can be prevented from voting just because they have dementia, and it is important we send this message far and wide to ensure that people with dementia have an equal voice in their communities up and down the country.
However, the deadline to register is fast approaching and you must register to vote by 11.59pm on Monday 22 May.
Dementia and voting
The Mental Capacity Act, which provides a framework for making decisions on behalf of people who lack capacity to make a decision, does not apply to voting. This means that a lack of mental capacity does not stop someone from being able to vote. It is up to the person to decide if they want to vote.
However, there are some barriers that people with dementia may face when the time comes to go to the polls.
It may be that someone needs support to vote, for example, being reminded to go to their polling station on the right date, and getting to the right place. Councils have a responsibility to make sure that polling stations are accessible so if you do need any assistance, you can ask the staff at the polling station.
Voting by proxy
It’s important to note that if you have made a Lasting Power of Attorney, your attorney cannot vote on your behalf.
But, anyone can appoint someone else to vote on their behalf. This is called voting by proxy and the deadline for appointing a proxy is 5pm on Wednesday 31 May. Your proxy does not make a decision about who to vote for – they just fulfil your wishes. Although you don’t need mental capacity to vote, you do need mental capacity to appoint a proxy.
The right to vote is not taken away by dementia. The General Election on June 8 is a chance to have your say, and there is plenty of support available to make sure that you can. Just make sure you register before it’s too late!