Friday, October 31, 2008

Mentally ill deserve voting rights, advocates say

Mentally ill deserve voting rights, advocates say
Story Highlights
State advocates help those with mental disabilities register, vote

Critics say that allowing outsiders to help could influence votes

All but 11 states have laws limiting voting rights based on competence

Expert says mentally ill have more at stake because they rely on government

RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- Clyde Hoy has missed only one election. It was 2002, and the manic depression he had battled for nearly 20 years had taken hold again, landing him in a state psychiatric hospital.

"I wanted to vote, but I felt that I didn't have any right at all," said the 48-year-old. "I asked, and nobody gave me an answer. There wasn't an option."

Advocates are working to change that with a nationwide effort to make sure those with mental disabilities know their rights and exercise them on Election Day.
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