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Should developmentally disabled Adults...

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Should developmentally disabled have the right to vote?  Or should they lose this right if they are determined to be mentally incompetent?  

Group-home staff took illiterate, developmentally disabled resident to vote

Cecil Pearson is “shocked” his daughter voted for Barack Obama in November, but not for a typical reason: Darlene, Pearson’s daughter, is intellectually disabled and functionally illiterate, and lives with five other women in a group home operated by Easter Seals.

“We are here to support the individual’s rights and we help them exercise their rights as adults,” Jeff Smith, Easter Seals chief communication officer, told The Daily Caller.

“We we were providing the support for those individuals based on their community involvement and desires, and in this case their desire was to vote.”

In the state of North Carolina, Darlene can vote, marry and enter into contracts, despite a court ruling in 1995 declaring her incompetent.

“Its not my role to refute law or otherwise,” Smith told TheDC, “They are individuals and they have the same rights. … They were fully in their right to vote.”

But Darlene’s father said that as her legal guardian, he should have been notified.

“My wife and I became her legal guardians in 1996 to prevent exploitation like this,” Pearson told the Carolina Journal. “We were not consulted. She is not capable of making an informed choice, and as her guardians we would not have approved it.”

According to the North Carolina Board of Elections records, Darlene has been registered to vote since 1995 but November’s election marked the first time she has actually voted. Staff from Darlene’s group home took her to a Division of Motor Vehicles office in 1995 to get a photo identification card.

That day, with the assistance of the Moter-Voter law, she also registered to vote.

“Our job is to support them in living a full and active life,” Smith told TheDC. “We didn’t single out voting. It was just something else they wanted to do in the community.”

On Nov. 2, Darlene and other women in the group home were transported in a van to an early voting site in Roanoke Rapids. Assisted by a Halifax County election board employee, Darlene cast her vote curbside.

Pearson claims Darlene is incapable of making this important decision on her own, so someone else must have decided how she would vote.

But Smith insisted that Easter Seal’s staff did not help their residents vote, nor were they present when they cast their ballots.

“We didn’t influence them, nor did we know who they voted for unless they chose to share that,” he said.

Halifax County Elections Board Chairwoman Marilyn Harris explained to the Carolina Journal, “We had a registered voter who presented herself to vote. She asked for assistance and she was allowed to vote.”

Pearson wrote in an email to Easter Seals President Connie L. Cochran, “I know who my daughter voted for and I also know that when I asked who else she replied that she did not know. … [A]lso of interest to me is the fact she CANNOT read other than ‘a dog, cat and such simple words.’”



Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/12/04/group-home-staff-took-illiterate-developmentally-disabled-resident-to-vote/#ixzz2EOISL1ox

by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 1:11 PM
Replies (21-30):
Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Dec. 8, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Quoting katy_kay08:

Should developmentally disabled have the right to vote?

Personally I think the vote should be given to everyone: black, white; male, female; rich, poor; young, old; smart, foolish; sane, insane; prisoners, non-prisoners.   EVERYONE.

Well, ok, not absolutely everyone.   Not dead people.  Not citizens of foreign countries living in foreign countries.


Why?

Three reasons:

(1) It simplifies things

(2) It is the direction the historic trend is moving in, to enlarge the franchise.   And, frankly, good has never come from any previous movements wanting to restrict voting to people 'properly qualified'.

(3) Yes, it would give 'undue' additional influence to people like parents, nurses and prison guards.   Those are not groups I particularly object to having additional influence.

LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Dec. 8, 2012 at 1:13 AM

 Yes, she / they should have the right to vote. 

TCgirlatheart
by TC on Dec. 8, 2012 at 1:40 AM
1 mom liked this
That's really it. If we start putting intellectual stipulations on the ability to vote, it is no longer a "right", but a privilege.

Quoting katy_kay08:

If they are registered to vote why shouldn't the center take them to exercise their right?  


Quoting Aivlys_:

Smh..that's shameful! Taking them to vote, when they probably have no clue what they are doing!


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MomTiara19
by Bronze Member on Dec. 8, 2012 at 5:39 AM

If the disabled person voted republican or Romney would anyone who hated Obama complain about their disability then?

Some republicans need to get over themselves.

momtoscott
by Platinum Member on Dec. 8, 2012 at 8:10 AM

 I think the issue seems to be that the parents are unhappy that she didn't vote the way they would have wanted.   I believe that a disabled person should be allowed to vote, with accommodations, like someone reading the ballot information to them.   A better way might have been to ask the guardians to come along with the voters and aides to observe, but I believe it was fine for her to vote and am glad she got to do it.    

romalove
by Roma on Dec. 8, 2012 at 8:19 AM


Quoting TCgirlatheart:

That's really it. If we start putting intellectual stipulations on the ability to vote, it is no longer a "right", but a privilege.

Quoting katy_kay08:

If they are registered to vote why shouldn't the center take them to exercise their right?  


Quoting Aivlys_:

Smh..that's shameful! Taking them to vote, when they probably have no clue what they are doing!


I'm actually more concerned that a person who is illiterate, developmentally disabled and has been determined to be legally incompetent can execute a contract or choose to marry.  I think such a person should have a legal guardian of some kind, and thought they did.  If their legal guardian takes them to vote or approves marriage or contracts then I would have no problem.  But to let someone in this sort of condition make decisions when they have been determined to be unable to make decisions leaves a situation ripe for manipulation and I think it's dangerous for the person.

romalove
by Roma on Dec. 8, 2012 at 8:20 AM


Quoting momtoscott:

 I think the issue seems to be that the parents are unhappy that she didn't vote the way they would have wanted.   I believe that a disabled person should be allowed to vote, with accommodations, like someone reading the ballot information to them.   A better way might have been to ask the guardians to come along with the voters and aides to observe, but I believe it was fine for her to vote and am glad she got to do it.    

Reading the ballot to someone who's been determined to be incompetent wouldn't really yield more or better results than pointing to the boxes and saying "choose one".

I agree that the parent was upset about who they voted for, which is silly, but I think I'm seeing this issue as one where the incompetent person is vulnerable to being taken advantage of and according to the story I don't see there is any protection against that.

deadlights86
by Bronze Member on Dec. 8, 2012 at 8:21 AM
The article said a worker helped her. Maybe they read all the options to her. I dont see how 1 vote will make much of a difference.
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SWasson
by Bronze Member on Dec. 8, 2012 at 8:23 AM

It's not the center's job to decide whether or not a resident has the right to vote; it's the state's, and the state already decided.

Starryeyez_01
by Member on Dec. 8, 2012 at 8:23 AM
Good question....
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