With just two weeks before election day, laws in more than half of states mean that some people won’t be able to cast a ballot simply because they have a disability.
Constitutional provisions in about 30 states allow the right to vote to be denied to individuals with mental disabilities if a court has determined that they are “mentally incapacitated.” In some states, such a determination can be automatic if a person is found to need a guardian to handle money or make medical decisions, for example.
Supporters of the laws insist that they prevent fraud by ensuring that those with disabilities are not taken advantage of at the polls.
However, disability advocates say that allowing voting rights to be taken away from people on the basis of their disability is outdated, reminiscent of the days when institutionalization was the norm.
“The stereotype is that a person with a mental disability can’t express a preference, and is more susceptible than other people to have some undue influence from someone else,” one advocate told The Atlantic, insisting that there’s no data to suggest that’s the case. To read more click here.