Having the Right to Vote with a Disability

The election is over and people have moved on and are settling in to see what the next four years has in store for the country. For some, however, the election meant a lot more than just voting for the man who will lead them; it meant possibly not having the ability to vote at all because of a label.

For years people with disabilities have had to fight certain stereotypes. I realized voting was made difficult for many, but for some it was made impossible. This article on MotherJones.com, Protecting the Voting Rights of People with Mental Disabilities, illustrated this point.

I was surprised to learn that all but 11 states have disability-related voting restrictions. These restrictions ban people under guardianship or determined incompetent from voting. The bans target adults with disabilities and include veterans with traumatic brain injury, seniors with dementia, as well as individuals with autism.

Having worked with people in these categories, I find it troubling that some of my participants could be deemed unsuitable to vote based on a disability. Hearing that people have had to stand before a judge and explain why they deserved to vote in this years election stunned me. I didn’t think we still lived in an era where people had to fight for the right to vote.

In the 2008 election 46 percent of voters were people with disabilities. Imagine how different things would be if that many people didn’t vote. Why then, do people have to still fight for that right? It is true that the Presidential Election is over, but the fight for people with disabilities and breaking stereotypes is not and may never be.
Check out the article at: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/11/voting-rights-mental-disabilities

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