In a time of heightened awareness about voting security, we at Lutheran Services Carolinas would like to clarify our policy about the voting process for North Carolina’s nursing home and assisted living residents.
Voting is a constitutional right that takes precedence over other regulations and executive orders. The right to vote does not end when someone enters a nursing home/assisted living. Federal and state governments agree that all citizens who want to vote and who have not been judged incompetent should have that right. Federal and state governments have agreed that Boards of Elections must be allowed access to residents to ensure that they can exercise their Constitutional right to vote.
It is crucial to note that LSC teammates are not involved in the resident voting process. Vote tampering or fraud is a federal crime, and the Board of Elections staff will take every precaution to ensure that the process is not tainted.
It may seem wrong to allow elections staff to visit a nursing home when a state executive order prevents family visitation, but please note that voting-related activities at LSC homes – like helping residents request absentee ballots — have taken place outside and with many COVID-related precautions firmly in place.
We empathize with families who are frustrated by visitation regulations. For the past several months LSC has been tirelessly advocating for safe visitation for nursing home and assisted living residents. Teammates sat LSC have family members who live in nursing homes, and they are certainly aware of the emotional toll pandemic regulations have taken on their own families. LSC President and CEO Ted Goins has not been able to see or hug his mother, a resident of Trinity Oaks health and rehab, since early March of 2020.
We would ask that those frustrated with how pandemic restrictions have deprived them of human contact with loved ones would realize that we understand, and that we are all in this together. The safety and well-being of your loved ones – our beloved residents – is our priority. We hope that you will share an extra measure of grace with us during this difficult and emotional time. We are trying to do the same.
Together, let’s continue to fight this pandemic and get back to normal by staying vigilant and remembering the three Ws. Wear a mask; Wash your hands; Wait six feet.