General Question

stagayote54's avatar

What are some arguments for and against the rights of mentally ill voters.

Asked by stagayote54 (123points) September 25th, 2010

Should mentally ill be allowed to vote?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

27 Answers

marinelife's avatar

No, because they do not have all of their faculties with which to make a voting decision.

They could be easily swayed by unscrupulous people trying to manipulate the outcome of the election.

muppetish's avatar

How are we defining mentally ill? I would feel hesitant to write such a large group of individuals out based on the prescriptions and concerns of society when this could easily be used to prevent those who are perfectly capable of making a voting decision from participating.

We would have to define “mentally ill” to an extremely specific degree. The idea makes me wary.

Cupcake's avatar

I wouldn’t trust a government that decided who was eligible to vote. Everyone should be eligible. They should also, of course, educate themselves to the best of their abilities about the issues and each candidate.

Just the thought that I may be denied voting rights because I was once treated for bi-polar and have had depression and anxiety makes me sick.

Should black people be able to vote? “Naturalized” citizens? Women? Poor people? Uneducated people? People with learning disabilities? Homosexuals? Retired people? Handicapped people?

The government doesn’t have the right to be up in my uterus, and it doesn’t have the right to tell me that I can’t vote.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Argument for: impossible to tell them apart from the general populace that votes.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
weeveeship's avatar

For: they are people too, they pay taxes (I think…) and there shall be no taxation without representation

Against: they might not understand what they are doing

Response moderated
MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Over one forth of Americans over the age of 18 have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. It seems like we shouldn’t ban 25% of all voters.

lynfromnm's avatar

“Mentally ill” and “intellectually challenged” are not even remotely the same thing. Mentally ill people have as much capacity to vote as anyone else.

Remember that we are all born with the right to be self determining, to make our own choices. If you’re going to take that away from someone you have to PROVE they don’t have the capacity. How do you decide that, when it comes to voting? If you disagree with their voting choices you’re going to remove the right to vote? How else would you determine it? And how would you know how that person has voted in the first place?

NO. It’s wrong to take away a person’s rights on the basis of a subjective judgment. You can only take away a sacred right if the person has committed significant crimes against humanity, thereby showing himself to be a lower being.

wundayatta's avatar

Are you fucking kidding?!?

We are just as capable of pulling the lever as anyone else! We probably make better choices, too.

Who gets to design the test to determine who is eligible to vote? You know it seems to me that people who have had concussions can’t be trusted to voter; let alone people who fluther (the craziest of all).

cockswain's avatar

I would say there is no real evidence they would make a poorer decision than those influenced by lies/distortions in the media. Let them vote. They are citizens and not felons.

Kraigmo's avatar

More than half the people who vote are mentally ill anyway. Look who they vote for. They’re mostly a bunch of brainwashed Republicans or Democrats (or… they look at the names on the ballot and vote for the names that sound best to them, in the same manner a child picks her favorite color); So incredibly common, and so incredibly stupid.
We should never deny the right to vote to the clinically mentally ill; they are no less sane the half the normal voting populace. And even if they were far less intelligent or capable… there’s not enough of them to even make a dent in the election results. And if there were, well that’s democracy.

marinelife's avatar

I think that I was confusing the mentally ill with the retarded. I do not think the latter should be allowed to vote for the reasons I have stated.

If, however, mentally ill people are on medication, then they should be allowed to vote.

lillycoyote's avatar

“Mental illness” is an extremely broad category that includes all sorts of disorders: mood disorders, thought disorders, personality disorders. So how would you decide who could and couldn’t vote? A person with depression or schizophrenia who has responded well to treatment could vote but a psychopath or untreated bipolar couldn’t? It’s very dangerous territory to think about creating some kind of mental or cognitive “fitness” test or standard for who can and cannot vote.

stagayote54's avatar

Thank you for your answers. I was surprised to see this one actually come up on a ballot…Im trying to craft a classier argument rather than to blast off flaming…

lillycoyote's avatar

@stagayote54 Are you actually talking about a ballot measure in your state that would limit the voting rights of the mentally ill? If so, where?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@stagayote54 Depending on how they define mentally ill, it could limit everyone who’s ever gone to a therapy session or took a Xanax or Prozac, even if they were a minor and had no choice in the matter. The vast majority of America has gone to therapy and/or popped a pill at some point.

wundayatta's avatar

So the mentally retarded shouldn’t vote? Who gets to say who is mentally retarded or not? Is there some IQ test to tell us? This country franchises people because of age, and not, as far as I know, for any other reason. We can be disenfranchised if we commit crimes, but last time I heard, stupidity was not a crime.

lynfromnm's avatar

@marinelife People who are intellectually challenged are also entitled to all the rights of every other citizen UNLESS a court has found them incompetent. Often, even adults who have a guardian can vote.
Again, the problem becomes, what is the test for determining who has the capacity to vote. When I was growing up, the law was that you couldn’t vote until you were 21 because you didn’t have “capacity”. Eventually that age was reduced, because the ONLY capacity required in order to vote is that you are an adult citizen.
We simply cannot take away peoples’ rights without a significant indication that they are not entitled to those rights – again, if they are felons or if you can PROVE that the person is incapable of making their own decision. It doesn’t have to be the RIGHT decision, because after all, everyone makes wrong decisions – are all of us mentally retarded or incompetent based on making wrong decisions? No.
I submit to you that it is FAR worse to deprive someone of their rights (by definition, their freedom) than it is to make a wrong decision. Taking someone’s rights is the equivalent of taking their humanity.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Jabe73's avatar

I’m still trying to figure out which is worse, truely mentally ill voters or biased, ignorant voters who pull one lever. How mentally ill are we talking about here? There is a difference between the so-called “mentally ill” and people who literally can’t comprehend what is around them because of severe brain damage or other condition. Where is the line at here with this question. There are many so-called “sane” people who vote like retards and are easily manipulated.

kbugRN's avatar

only mental disorders in which the person is no longer in touch with reality, like schizophrenia, should voting rights be witheld. although medicated schizophrenics sometimes have a grasp on reality.

wundayatta's avatar

@kbugRNalthough medicated schizophrenics sometimes have a grasp on reality

Sometimes? Is 95% or higher “sometimes?” Have you met any schizophrenics?

@Jabe73 I’m just curious. Are you a psychiatrist? Do you know the conditions necessary for a diagnosis of mental illness? Or are you trying to throw out half the DSM IV because, in your wisdom, you think most people with mental illness are in fact only with “so-called” mental illness?

Like you say, where do you draw the line? Are we talking an education requirement? A lucidity requirement? An intelligence requirement?

There is no mental competence requirement and there never should be one.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@kbugRN How do you define reality, and how do you figure out who’s in touch with it? I’m not sure I’ve met someone yet who didn’t have some kind of problem with reality.

inbaselvan's avatar

voting rights for uneducated people, it is right or not? it is nesscary?

lynfromnm's avatar

You don’t need to define reality. You need to define rights. Rights are inherent, not the property of the government but of the PERSON. In what circumstances do you have the right to take the property of another human being? A person with mental illness or intellectual impairment has the same rights anyone else does. That means they possess those rights, as surely as you possess your car or your television. Do you have the right to take the television of a person with bipolar disorder?

Do you always vote for the “right” person? On what basis do you decide for whom you will vote? Can you prove that your reason for voting as you do is a better reason than that of a person with a mental illness? All you can say is that your reason for your vote is YOUR reason and that you are exercising YOUR right. For all you know, the person next to you who has Down Syndrome or schizophrenia, is making the same choice you are making.

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