14 Sep 2004 Dementia and Voting
The Washington Post expresses page one concern that people with dementia are voting.
Says the Post:
While many states have laws governing who is eligible to vote, attempts to disenfranchise voters with dementia could face constitutional challenge.
Change the could in that sentence to would — if necessary, I’d challenge such a move myself.
There is absolutely no way doctors and caregivers can judge who is capable of making an informed decision. If a person can’t vote — literally can no longer understand how to physically cast the vote — that’s one thing, because that is an objective standard not determined by the judgement of a third party, but no third party should be able to take away someone’s citizenship rights based on a medical opinion.
But taking the vote away from people who can’t even pass one of Jay Leno’s sidewalk civics tests, now that’s a voting reform I can get behind.
Addendum: One of my must-read blogs, The Commons at Paulie World, rightly (in my view) corrects the Post’s use of language in the quote above. I was glad to read the correction, because weak editing by big-budget, prestigious and (to be blunt) often self-important news publications is one of my pet peeves.