Kathleen Henry, 80, wants all her neighbors to vote, even if they can’t drive, read, or remember as much anymore. Soon after the former civics teacher moved to the Greenspring retirement community here in 2003, she took a leading role in running the campus’s polling place and registering voters. Just this year, Ms. Henry said, she’s registered 72 residents as new voters. If a resident doesn’t have an up-to-date government form of identification – as is the case for 18 percent of citizens over 65 – Henry works to bring in a county official to take their picture to comply with Virginia’s voter ID law.
When Election Day rolls around, she and a small group of volunteers set up polling stations in the conference center, a short elevator ride down from the cafeteria and library. The community’s Democratic and Republican clubs post tables with candidate information just outside the voting area. Volunteers shuttle in residents from assisted-living and skilled-nursing facilities. The roughly 2,000 residents of Greenspring, average age 80, are the only voters in this precinct.
“Our motto is if they care enough to come, by golly we’re going to help them vote,” Henry said. “We’ve got it down pretty pat, believe me.”