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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Cognitive Impairment or Under Guardianship

Download this information as a PDF, 'Voters With Cognitive Impairment.'

Voting Rights If You Are Under a Guardianship
You have the right to vote if you are under guardianship, conservatorship or if someone else has power of attorney, as long as a judge did not restrict your right to vote. You do not lose your right to vote if you have a brain injury, a developmental disability, cognitive impairment, or experience severe memory loss.

Only a Judge Can Decide if You Are Not Competent to Vote
No one else can make this decision on your behalf, including a spouse, children, caregivers, doctors or nurses.

Voting is Not Covered by Power of Attorney
A person with power of attorney cannot vote on your behalf. You do not lose the right to vote when you give someone power of attorney.

Voter Assistance at the Polls
In the polling place you have a right to get help from election judges or any person you choose, except an agent of your employer, your union or a candidate.

Rules for Those Marking a Ballot for You
People who go with you into the voting booth to help you mark your ballot must follow certain laws.

  • Assistants cannot try to influence how you vote or share how you voted with others.
  • Assistants cannot mark your ballot if you are unable to communicate your choices.
  • An assistant can only physically mark ballots on behalf of a maximum of three voters each election.
  • They may provide other forms of assistance to an unlimited number of voters.
  • If someone marks a ballot on your behalf, you may show it privately to an election judge to confirm that it is correctly marked.
  • If you ask election judges for assistance in marking your ballot, two election judges from different major political parties must help.

Individuals or organizations that want to provide assistance to voters may consider creating safeguards to avoid any appearance of wrongdoing. This could include having two individuals provide assistance to voters together.

Last updated: 9/4/2014 3:54:32 PM