Adult Services’ Alan Milsted supports residents in civic process

As we approach the mid-term elections, Latham staff members are working to create opportunities for residents who are interested in learning about the voting process, the issues, and the candidates. Adult Services Case Manager Alan Milsted shared how he has supported some of our program participants in the civic process; it’s a wonderful example of best practice. Alan illustrated how to create opportunities for learning and participating—without inserting one’s own bias. His experience bringing three Latham residents to their Plymouth North polling station during the recent Primary elections follows:

“Although the Primary elections were a little different (with three ballot papers instead of one), the reception I received from the “Warden” (polling supervisor), and the support she gave individually to my three voters was, I think, a model of good practice. I had shared the model ballots at the house in the days leading up to the election, so they were familiar with their layout, and at the polling station, there were samples of the actual ballots, differently colored for each party. I explained to the staff that I was accompanying people who needed assistance with completing their ballots and that I would prefer that such assistance came from somebody independent. The Warden went through the process, explaining the various positions up for election; the candidates for each position; and voters’ choices to vote for a named candidate, write in an alternative, or to make no vote. She then read each section, asking the individuals what they wished to do. She checked in with me, at various points, for clarification on the level of support needed. After their ballot papers had been “posted”, she gave everyone an “I Voted” sticker.”

In sharing Alan’s experience with his colleagues, he noted: “The key points for me are: ensuring individuals are registered to vote; that there is discourse well in advance of election day; that the ways in which individuals can be supported at the polling station are understood, with individuals being given the choice about whom they ask to help them; and that Latham staff explicitly ask at the polling station for assistance.”

Other staff members have shared similar positive stories of local voting boards and volunteers who are trained and willing to help. This can be an exciting time to involve our adult residents in the civic process — we’re grateful to Alan for sharing his experiences. Note that for Massachusetts residents, the last day for registering to vote on November 6th (including where there has been a change of address) is this Wednesday, October 17th!

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