Where is the line to disqualify someone from the voting booth because of a cognitive or developmental impairment?

“At a time when election officials are struggling to convince more Americans to vote, advocates for the disabled say thousands of people with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy and other intellectual or developmental disabilities have been systematically denied that basic right in the nation’s largest county,” reports the Associated Press.

A Voting Rights Act complaint to be filed Thursday with the U.S. Justice Department goes to a politically delicate subject that states have grappled with over the years.

“At issue in the California case is access to the ballot box for adults who enter so-called limited conservatorships, legal arrangements in which parents or guardians assume the right to make certain decisions for people who lack the ability to manage their financial and medical affairs,” the AP story continues. “In the course of taking that step in court, voting rights are routinely voided, according to the advocacy group.”

Today’s Question: Where is the line to disqualify someone from the voting booth because of a cognitive or developmental impairment?

  • Jamie

    This has to be a ridiculously small amount of voters compared to the number voting fraudulently – non-citizens, voting twice, voting in multiple districts, voting while dead, voting after felony has revoked rights to vote, …

  • KTN

    If they are showing a predilection towards voting Republican.
    But seriously,
    That line ought to be very narrow. One might look at Stephen Hawking, who by outside appearance would seem a candidate to bar from voting, but of course, looks can be deceiving.

  • PaulJ

    Maybe if they don’t know what voting is or if they don’t know they are voting; then they shouldn’t be voting. Anything else would seem to require a more vague type of intelligence test.

  • Jeff

    I think if their cognitive ability is below that of a 16 year old then that adult should not be voting. What I’ve heard about voting in our own state is that mentally disabled adults are loaded up on buses and the workers at the healthcare facility are completely filling out the ballot for handicapped people who are not tell them to do so.

    • Pearly

      That’s called “get out the vote”

      • JQP

        As opposed to the GOP program…
        Get the Voters OUT of the system..

      • JQP
        • Pearly

          Are you OK with that? Im not. That’s what we are trying to avoid.
          Republicans, Democrat, black, white, blue, green. it don’t mater the fraud is the issue

          • JQP

            Yes…
            the GOP solution is to “TSA” voting booth.

            Look what TSA has done for air-travel.

            more expensive, longer delays, no substantial useful outcome….. except to deeply and severely infringe wrongly on many ( no-fly lists are just the surface).

            The more general solution would be mandate and require a national identity card for everything. The card would issued at birth. Name, hair color, picture, finger prints, palm prints, foot prints, retinal scan and DNA samples. all stored in a national database. Picture to be updated at specific events ( arrest, drivers license, military service, etc.)

            You would never be doubted as someone else. You would use it for every purchase. If you ever commit a crime… police would once DNA data or fingerprints established know exactly who they are looking for .,.. oh .. and you could use it to vote.

    • JQP

      Yeah and I heard companies telling their employees vote republican or you’re fired.

      • Jeff

        Direct quote from the story, “Montgomery Jensen, a voter in Crow Wing County, says he and his wife saw a group of mentally incapacitated individuals ushered through the voting process by mental health staff, who told some of the group who they should vote for and, in some cases, filled out ballots on their behalf, according to an affidavit filed with the county attorney’s office on Monday”

        http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/11/02/minn-county-investigating-voter-fraud-allegations-involving-mentally-disabled/

        • Joe

          The fact that the county attorney filed it doesn’t mean it’s “true”, it’s the affiant that is swearing under oath and would be subject to perjury if the affiant is lying, not the county attorney…

          • Jeff

            Well someone has verified under penalty of perjury that it’s true, therefore in the eyes of a the law it’s a true statement until proven false…still waiting on proof for the claim about “I heard companies telling their employees vote republican or you’re fired”.

          • Joe

            “Verified” is a bit strong of a word when you really mean “stamped when they strolled through the door and checked who the person was who they say they are.” My favorite affidavits are the crazy people who walk in and tell the county they don’t pay taxes or some kind of “everything is a contract” philosophy folks. The funniest part about those are that the county is usually too lazy or indifferent to pass along the information to any interested parties and just brushes them off as crazy, as they should be. This is what affidavits are.

          • Jeff

            Okay, this is a serious issue, no need to tangent off about crazy people…nice dance around my request for proof about another statement that was made…I have provided a half dozen stories to prove my points and in they eyes of the law all my claims were true. No backing up of proof for all those liberal claims out there.

          • JQP

            regarding the status of an affadavit ….
            the point is you can waltz in and make any affadavit you want… and if no one bothers to test it… its simple rubbish.

            until it is tested, its not anything but a claim. nothing to hang a hat on.

          • Joe

            I’m just trying to put in perspective what you said about county attorneys and affidavits as not many are familiar. And now you’re somehow projecting your news stories as “the eyes of the law”… get a grip, man. Affidavits are, as one of the most simple legal documents, about as “liberal” as a claim can get, especially if you take them at face value. Actually testing the veracity of the claim contained in the affidavit in a court of law would be the conservative approach. If you’re going to draw silly distinctions like that anyway… the word liberal seems to be a minor obsession of yours. It’s usually funny, but sometimes it’s a little sad.

          • JQP

            http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/26/can-company-fire-you-for-way-you-vote

            http://www.msnbc.com/the-ed-show/top-5-ways-force-employees-vote-rom

            http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/10/15/1010581/koch-employee-votes/

            http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2012/10/27/employers_increasingly_telling_employees_workers_how_to_vote.html

            http://www.ibtimes.com/tell-employees-how-vote-romney-urges-report-848639

            and the YouTube Video of Romney , himself of the GOP power elite, advising CEO’s to instruct their employees how to vote or experience consequences no longer seems to be available…

            Basically … the GOP power structure fully supports any and all means to enforce how “employees” vote.. because “Hey .. the CEO did it , we (the GOP) have clean hands”

            Based on your … ie right until proven wrong standard…

          • Jeff

            Not one of those stories showed a specific case where an employer created a quid pro quo where the employee had to vote their way or be fired. In fact, the Romney speech was about sharing ideas in the work place…which happens every day in our lunchroom at my office. We have a secret ballot…there’s no way to even enforce such a hypothetical idea.

          • G Decker

            No, you misunderstand an affidavit. No one has verified anything. An affidavit is simply an assertion, a claim that someone swears is true. It does not mean it has been investigated or sustained. It’s only an assertion. If it turns out the person who made the assertion is lying, they could be found guilty of perjury.

          • Jeff

            So has this man been charged with perjury yet? If not then the statement is taken as true, until proven wrong.

        • KTN

          Democratic operatives, undercover cameras, and mentally ill people – that sounds like a recipe for fraudulent voting, or a new LaCarre novel.

        • JQP
          • Jeff

            Okay, that fraud should stopped and prosecuted regardless of Democrat or Republican who committed the fraud. You act as if the party makes a difference on the principle…it doesn’t to me, it’s wrong either way and let’s stop it.

    • Joe

      That sounds terrible, the mentally ill should be loaded up on buses and sent to prison like what eventually happened to them after Reagan closed a bunch of state mental hospitals.

    • kevins

      So we should test lots and lots of regular Minnesota citizens to see if their cognitive abilities are below that of a sixteen year old? Or should we just select the ones we assume are “mentally disabled” on some objective basis? Or just worry about those that ride buses? It seems to me that operating on rumor, casual observation and hearsay may open up a rather large can of worms about eligibility to enjoy a truly American right and privilege.

      • Jeff

        See my 3 stories below for the proof…I don’t have a problem with testing people in a mental institution for cognitive skills being at a certain level…those skills are already tested…you’d probably just need to verify them at voting registration time. If you can earn your own way without government help or support and you pay taxes then you’re well above the cognitive ability of most 16 year olds I know.

        • JQP

          Rand Paul calls out GOP on Voter Fraud Claims

          http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/rand-paul-gop-voter-fraud

          • Jeff

            Both parties over-hype, it doesn’t mean it’s non-existent…

            From the article:

            Sen. Rand Paul thinks the GOP might be over-hyping instances of voter fraud, and that Republicans shouldn’t scrap early voting.

            “There is still some fraud, and so we should stop that,” the Kentucky senator, considered a leading potential contender for the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination, told former Obama adviser David Axelrod during a sit-down Tuesday at the University of Chicago.

          • KTN

            What gets lost is the penalty for voter fraud – which is a felony. Who, on either side would risk a felony conviction to vote. I would argue, not many.
            The problem in Minnesota is that there have been a number of people cited with vote fraud, but the majority of those people were released convicts. The laws concerning who can and cannot vote after serving time is convoluted and while some regain their right to vote, some don’t – and the law does not help clarify for those in limbo.

          • Jeff

            Yet, how many people of the 140 that lived at 419 Cedar are going to be charged with a felony….my guess is zero.

          • KTN

            Nor should they be, unless of course any of them knowingly were committing voter fraud. Absent intent any pursuit of voter fraud would most likely not survive a challenge in court.

          • G Decker

            My problem with your statement is that you assume all the facts are known and that intentional fraud has occurred. Yet, MPR is reporting that when a person files a change of address form at the post office, a Minnesota law requires the voter registation offices also be notified. The people who filed the change of address card with the post office didn’t even know that this happened. If this is what happened, these people did not commit any fraud whatsoever.

        • kevins

          So in order to vote you have to prove that you can earn your own way without government help?

          • whitedoggie44

            the tyranny of the moocher class

          • Jeff

            No just stay out of a government mental institution…if you’re in a government mental institution then your doctor can evaluate if you can comprehend to the level of a 16 year old. Pretty straight forward.

          • kevins

            Unfortunately, anything but straightforward as anyone familiar with psychometrics can attest.

    • Joe

      It’s interesting that you use the phrase “loaded up on buses” as if they are being schlepped around by the workers as warm bodies as opposed to the reality that they cannot leave such facilities of their own free will.

      • Jamie

        I think you’re inferring that from his comment based on what you want him to be saying. My inference was that he said they’re loaded up on buses to get you to visualize the quantity (busloads) of people having someone else tell them how to vote.

        • Joe

          It’s important to note that these eligible voters wouldn’t otherwise be able to arrive to the polling place by means of transit other than buses that are arranged for them. Some people don’t otherwise understand how confined these individuals are with few privileges.

  • Joe

    There should be no line, if the person votes twice like that old lady who forgot she voted last election it should just be corrected or her votes should be thrown out as noticed. Probably not arrested for voter fraud though, that’s just sad. Who’s to say this won’t lead us right back to literacy tests?

  • JQP
  • Rich in Duluth

    The Constitution apparently leaves voter qualifications up to the states and only addresses who may NOT be kept from voting. If Minnesota were to establish a test to qualify voters, that test would be based on the prejudices of the current Legislature and would be set to filter out certain voters based on that prejudice.

    I think the right to vote is so important that it is best to err on the side of allowing people to vote rather than not allowing them to vote. Besides, Minnesota already has a procedure for challenging a voter at the poll if a voter sees an individual they suspect is not qualified and for disqualifying individuals from voting ( https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=201.15&year=2013 ). I think we should keep things as they are.