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Nursing home resident participant in election
2016-Voting 004
Residents of Coastal Manor in Ludowici discuss Tuesdays election. - photo by Photo by Joe Parker, Jr.

Election turnout figures include not only people who went to polling places on election day or voted early, but also residents of nursing homes like Coastal Manor in Ludowici.

About a dozen residents shared their views on the election and the voting process, several commenting they were glad to have the opportunity to vote, but were happy that the election was over.

Elise Stafford, administrator at Coastal Manor, said she and her staff make sure residents have the opportunity to register and to vote. Social workers help families of residents with the process.

Stafford said, "It’s a fine line we walk," helping with access to ballots while making sure not to influence casting of votes.

In many cases the families of residents take care of requesting absentee ballots and seeing that the paperwork, including the ballot itself, is completed.

Many Coastal Manor residents are eligible to vote in Long or Liberty counties and some voted early in person in Ludowici or Hinesville. Residents casting absentee ballots are from other parts of Georgia, like Telfair County, as well as places like Washington, D.C., and North Carolina.

Last month was Resident Rights Month by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care with the theme My Vote Counts.

"We want to recognize that being a resident in a nursing home doesn’t have to mean that you can’t participate in the political process. We hope to facilitate ways for residents to use their voice and their vote and take part in the election this fall," said Lori Smetanka, executive director of the Consumer Voice.

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