To: Mass Senior Care Members
From: Tara M. Gregorio, President
Re: Voting for Long Term Care Residents
Date: September 24, 2020
On November 3, 2020, Massachusetts voters will elect a new President, Vice President, state legislators, and other local elected officials. All Massachusetts voters are eligible to vote by mail upon application or at a polling location. For the first time ever, Massachusetts voters can now request a mail-in ballot online without submitting any physical paperwork. Secretary of State William Galvin launched an online portal Wednesday, www.mailmyballotma.com, allowing all registered voters to ask their local election officials for a mail-in general election ballot. In addition, Massachusetts also offers early voting in person before Election Day and on Election Day. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Vote by mail might be a very good option for many long term care residents. Nonetheless, residents should not be discouraged from going to the polls if that is their preference, and residents do not need to quarantine upon return to their facility after less than 24 hours. In the Department of Public Health’s September 15th Update for Caring for Long-Term Care Residents during the COVID-19 Emergency guidance memo, residents who are readmitted after less than 24 hours in a hospital do not need to be quarantined upon return. Although this is in the context of hospital readmissions, this is applicable across the board for any instance of being out of the facility.
Ensuring that long term care residents can exercise their constitutional right to vote is of utmost importance. Long term care providers should do everything possible to ensure residents can get the information and materials they need to participate in the election, while also staying safe from COVID-19. In addition, under CMS Requirements of Participation, §483.10(b) Exercise of Rights. The resident has the right to exercise his or her rights as a resident of the facility and as a citizen or resident of the United States. §483.10(b)(1) The facility must ensure that the resident can exercise his or her rights without interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal from the facility. §483.10(b)(2) The resident has the right to be free of interference, coercion, discrimination, and reprisal from the facility in exercising his or her rights and to be supported by the facility in the exercise of his or her rights as required under this subpart.
For more information about election and voting process, please visit the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office.
Please also note these important dates regarding voter registration:
- Tuesday, October 20, 2020: Last day to submit Vote by Mail/Absentee Ballot Application
- Saturday, October 24, 2020: Last Day to register to vote for the State Election
- Tuesday, November 3, 2020: State Election