04 November 2008

Can someone be "not fit to vote"?

A mother in Iowa is challenging the vote cast by her developmentally-delayed son.
Brenda Lyddon said her son, Christopher Willis, 26, is developmentally delayed. He lives at the CIRSI group home in Grinnell, an assisted living home for people with developmental disabilities.

Lyddon said he son should never have voted because he has the mind of a 7-year-old. "He cannot read. He can barely write and so he could never even read a ballot. He couldn't tell you who's on there. He couldn't tell you who's running -- vice president, local, congressional, nothing," said Lyddon...

Lyddon said she volunteers for the McCain campaign, but said her son's choice to vote for Obama is not the reason she's upset.

There are a lot of ways for partisans to spin this story. That someone with "the mind of a 7-year-old" would choose Obama... OR... that someone with that intellect would know not to vote for McCain. Spin is spin.

The larger question (to which I don't know the answer) is the extent to which the right to vote can be curtailed by intellectual deficiency. Presumably there are laws that vary state by state. The story says that if a judge deems someone incompetent, then they can't vote. But how does a judge decide? This young man apparently doesn't know if Obama is a Democrat or a Republican. But there are people on the street who think Sarah Palin is Obama's running mate. Should they be disqualified? How about people who think Iraq was responsible for the 9/11 attack? Lots to ponder. (Found at J-Walk)


  1. Let the guy vote, no matter who he votes for. And that's from a conservative.

  2. I have my own thoughts on who may not be fit to vote - but as a society we moved away from those quaint distinctions long ago.
    If he is a citizen otherwise qualified by the law - he should get to vote. Who he may vote for can not be the test. (although there are intriguing possibilities there - I will have to talk with Karl Rove about that)


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