Monday, June 18, 2007

It All Makes Sense Now! American Voters Are Insane

States Face Decisions on Who Is Mentally Fit to Vote

CRANSTON, R.I. — Behind the barbed wire and thick walls of the state mental hospital here are two patients who have not been allowed to live in the outside world for 20 years. Both were found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

Still, they have voted in elections nearly every two years, casting ballots by mail. Now, however, election officials are taking steps that could ban them from voting, arguing that state law denies the vote to people with such serious psychiatric impairments.

The issue is drawing attention for two major reasons: increasing efforts by the mentally ill and their advocates to secure voting rights, and mounting concern by psychiatrists and others who work with the elderly about the rights and risks of voting by people with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Rhode Island’s case concerns William Sarmento, institutionalized after he claimed Satan had ordered him to kill two boys, ages 6 and 9, and John A. Sarro, charged in the throat-slashing of a man in a bar restroom, and later with killing another psychiatric patient.

Mr. DeLorenzo said he was “ready to remove them from the voting list,” but because the House election had been so close, the American Civil Liberties Union intervened, saying more notice was required for a hearing.

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