As we all know, Tuesday is Election Day. As a result of press reports, concern is growing among national disability advocacy organizations about organized efforts to challenge voting by people with mental impairments at polling places across the nation. In particular, concerns are being raised about on-site challenges against people with mental disabilities who need assistance at polling places, i.e. individuals who need the direct assistance of a family member or close friend in voting. Such challenges are more likely in cases where consumers arrive at polling places in groups through the assistance of a community-based program such as a group home, residential program or clubhouse. In most instances, such challenges raised directly at a polling place are in violation of specific legal requirements protecting the right to vote.
Download and print a one-page flyer prepared by the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) setting forth specific voting rights for individuals with mental disabilities with helpful steps in how to deal with challenges to an individual's right to vote if asserted at a polling place next week. Advocates are encouraged to share this fact sheet with group homes, clubhouses and other community-based programs in your area.
Please help protect the right to vote for all consumers.
Visit NAMI's Public Policy Section to learn more about the issues that affect individuals with mental illness.