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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 (41-50):
momtoscott
by Platinum Member on Dec. 8, 2012 at 1:47 PM

 Disabled is a term that can encompass so many things, and I agree it's hard to tell in this particular circumstance.  However, in my personal experience and in what I've heard from others involved in the SN (special needs) community, as the mom of a developmentally disabled child, people often misassess a developmentally disabled person's cognition, for many reasons, good and bad. 

"Incompetence" is also a fuzzy term.  For older drivers, for example, it can just mean slower reflexes and poorer eyes, even while their knowledge about driving remains intact.  For a person who's developmentally delayed, it might mean that the person can't do things that require literacy, and therefore is unable to function independently in our society today, but it does not necessarily mean that the person can't make choices at all, even if they're choices based on what you or I might consider inappropriate criteria. 

Since there were several people from the group home who voted, I imagine this had been researched by the home's staff and had been determined legal and appropriate, although maybe that's a misapprehension on my part.  

However, I am coming from the general position that I would rather allow 100,000 people who maybe shouldn't vote to vote than deny 1 person who should be able to vote that opportunity.  (Maybe that's a result of my time in Chicago, where you don't even have to still be alive to vote...)     

Quoting romalove:


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.

 

paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Dec. 8, 2012 at 2:00 PM
Quoting romalove:

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

^^^^^^  quoted from the article

THIS is the problem.  If someone is declared incompetent they should not be able to do ANY of these things without legal guardian allowing such.  Should someone declared incompetent be able to vote?  No, but I'm more concerned that they can be duped into marriage and contracts that they don't understand.

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Breastfeeding tickers

katy_kay08
by on Dec. 8, 2012 at 2:27 PM
We don't currently require voters to be knowledgable or informed, why would we set a higher standard for those with disabilities?

Quoting romalove:


Quoting deadlights86:

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.

I agree.

One vote won't make any difference.

I'm more worried about people who are incompetent being taken advantage of.

Reading the options to an illiterate, developmentally disabled incompetent person doesn't make them any more knowledgable.

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romalove
by Roma on Dec. 8, 2012 at 2:39 PM


Quoting katy_kay08:

We don't currently require voters to be knowledgable or informed, why would we set a higher standard for those with disabilities?

Quoting romalove:


Quoting deadlights86:

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.

I agree.

One vote won't make any difference.

I'm more worried about people who are incompetent being taken advantage of.

Reading the options to an illiterate, developmentally disabled incompetent person doesn't make them any more knowledgable.

I responded to this in a later post in this thread.

I think I am responding emotionally, because the idea of someone in this condition being taken advantage doesn't sit well with me, and if you're illiterate, developmentally delayed and declared incompetent, to be able to make contracts, get married, and the least of this is vote, bothers me because I think someone in that condition without supervision could be taken advantage of.

But we don't have requirements for voting in terms of intelligence, just being of age.  So I guess she votes.

I'm still gonna worry about her lol.

lga1965
by on Dec. 8, 2012 at 2:51 PM

 Her father probably wouldn't be complaining if she voted for Romney,know what I mean ?

lga1965
by on Dec. 8, 2012 at 2:54 PM

 Exactly !

We all know people who vote for someone because they are "cute" and they are of normal intelligence...right? That isn't showing good judgement or being knowledgable....so why get all bent out of shape because this girl voted for Obama and probably upset her Dad because she didn't vote for Romney....just sayin' .....

Quoting katy_kay08:

We don't currently require voters to be knowledgable or informed, why would we set a higher standard for those with disabilities?

Quoting romalove:


Quoting deadlights86:

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.

I agree.

One vote won't make any difference.

I'm more worried about people who are incompetent being taken advantage of.

Reading the options to an illiterate, developmentally disabled incompetent person doesn't make them any more knowledgable.

 

Due9
by Bronze Member on Dec. 8, 2012 at 3:27 PM
No
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yarn582
by on Dec. 8, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Quoting katy_kay08:

 

We don't currently require voters to be knowledgable or informed, why would we set a higher standard for those with disabilities?

 

People with Developmental disabilities have a right to vote

Everyone wants to vote, including voters with mental disabilities. If you are a voter

with a developmental disability, you should know your rights. Knowing your rights will

help make sure you can vote. Take this piece of paper with you when you go to vote

so that you know what your rights are.

You can also show this to others if you run into any problems. This paper tells lawyers

and poll workers where to find the laws that protect your right to vote!

You do have the right to vote!

 

If you are a person with a developmental disability and understand what it

means to vote, Federal law guarantees your right to vote.

The law that gives you that right: The Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132;

Doe

v. Rowe,

156 F.Supp.2d 35 (D.Me.2001).

You can vote if you are under guardianship!

 

If you are under guardianship, you are still eligible to vote UNLESS a court

order revokes that right.

The law that gives you that right: Minnesota Statute § 201.014, subd. 2

You have the right to get help from a person YOU choose

􀂃

If you can’t read or need help voting because of your disability, you can have

someone help you vote.

 

You can bring a friend, family member or someone else you trust.

 

You can also ask the election judge to help you if you didn’t bring anyone with

you.

The law that gives you that right: The Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§1973aa-6; The

Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132; Minnesota Statute §204C.15, subd. 1

If you have a problem, you can get help by calling 1-866-OUR-VOTE

 

Lawyers are available to give voters with disabilities and other voters advice

and help with voting problems, so call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

You have the right to vote even if you have been challenged!

 

If you are truly eligible, you MUST be allowed to vote.

 

You may be asked questions about your eligibility, but as long as you answer

truthfully and give answers that indicate you are eligible, the election judge

has to give you an oath to swear that you are eligible.

 

If the you swear to tell the truth, answer the questions and sign the roster, the

election judge must allow you to vote.

The law that gives you that right: Minnesota Statute §204C

.12

    

macbudsmom
by Silver Member on Dec. 8, 2012 at 3:34 PM
They have chosen to disengage from their daughter's life. They need to step back. They just want attention.
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katy_kay08
by on Dec. 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM
2 moms liked this

I was thinking about this as well.  Their daughter is living in a facility.  If they were ultimately worried about the influence of those they have chosen to care for their daughter they could opt to change facilities or care for her themselves.  

Quoting macbudsmom:

They have chosen to disengage from their daughter's life. They need to step back. They just want attention.


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