Friday, July 27, 2012

Should All Disabled Be Allowed To Vote?

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune: The summer of Minnesota's discontent over voting rules has spun off a related fight: whether disabled people who cannot handle their own affairs should retain the right to vote.
The debate has set off alarms among disabled people and their advocates, adding another layer of controversy to the legal and political battle over whether Minnesota needs a photo ID requirement for voters, changes in Election Day registration and a new provisional balloting system.
"I want to vote," said Dave McMahan, a 61-year-old military veteran with mental illness who lives in a Minneapolis group home and has his affairs controlled by a legal guardian. "I've been through sweat and blood to vote. I don't want my rights taken away, because I fought for my rights here in the United States and expect to keep them that way."
Equally passionate is Ron Kaus of Duluth, an activist and plaintiff in a federal lawsuit that has raised the issue. Citing allegations in Crow Wing County in 2010, Kaus worries that disabled people have been hauled to the polls and told whom to vote for, which would be a crime. "It's one of the sickest form of exploitation, political abuse," he said....
 Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, a former secretary of state who has led the charge for a photo ID requirement, also sponsored a bill this year to tighten up guardianship voting. She is the guardian for her own disabled sister, and views the limits as a way of protecting vulnerable adults from being manipulated at the polling place.
The bill stalled, but the cause has been taken up in a wide-ranging federal lawsuit filed in February by the Minnesota Voters Alliance, state Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, and Kaus and his organization, the Minnesota Freedom Council. They note that the Minnesota Constitution prohibits those under guardianship from voting.
"Some people are so disabled, and they don't have the mental capacity to vote, and caregivers shouldn't bring them to the polling place," said Erick Kaardal, lawyer for Kaus and other plaintiffs. He said those who are so disabled that their affairs are completely controlled by a guardian should have to show a judge they are capable of voting.
I work with the severely disabled and there is no way they should be allowed to vote.  They don't speak, write or read.  They have no idea about politics, the politicians and the issues. (that being said, there are many so called normal people who have no idea about politics, politicians and issues)
However, these folks would be manipulated into who to vote for.and that is not fair because it would not be their vote but the vote of the person who brings them.
When I worked at San Haven State Hospital, a state institution in northern North Dakota and the City of Dunseith, we had court orders to prove that we were able to "normalize" the residents of the institution.  SanHaven had about 300 residents, all severely to profoundly mentally disabled.  Very few could write or read and they had no idea about the politics.  But about half of the residents on voting day were brought to the polls to vote and none of the residents knew what was going on.  So, the aides voted for the residents.  Because Dunseith has only about 700 residents in the town- probably fewer then.  It is very possible that the election was decided by our residents, even though they had no clue what was going on.
Since it is impossible to give an IQ test for a person to vote, the only other criteria you can have to disallowing these disabled to vote is deciding that a person who is in need of a court appointed guardian to look out for them and their needs and then a judge deciding if they should have the right to vote.
So, it will be interesting to see how this will play out in Minnesota.

1 comment:

  1. Just another way to guarantee another democratic vote for Obama and his followers. Not unlike the dead, who also reliably vote for Democrats.

    This is why you need poll tests reinstated. Far too many people are not cognizant of who they're voting for and just go with whose name they are most familiar with or who offeres the best welfare benefits.