Saturday, May 14, 2016

Local Saturday - Should Disabled People Vote?

I was going to write a post devoted to spring until I saw this op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, written by the mother of a son with autism called "Why my autistic son must vote."

This is a partisan post (the author supports one particular candidate) but this post is well worth reading.


Because I have a brother in law with autism.  In my blog I call him "B".

To the best of my knowledge, "B" never voted until a handful of years ago.  He was registered where he lived, finally, and voted.

Now that my spouse, his brother, is "B"'s guardian, he made sure "B" was registered to vote.  Last fall, "B" moved to the county where we live.  This spring, "B" registered as a member of the party of his choice.

This spring, in the New York presidential primary, my spouse took "B" to the voting place, and "B" voted.  "B" didn't have any trouble voting.

Some may think that "B" has intellectual disabilities.  However, he watches TV a lot, and made up his mind who he would vote for.  If that process was influenced by the news channel he watches a lot (maybe because his mother does) - well, aren't we all influenced by someone?

Is he less able to vote than a neurotypical voter?

Should his vote count for less?

To both, I say "no".  He did vote - which is more than a lot of us do. 

Some people would say, he does not have intellectual capability to fully understand the issues. Perhaps he did not totally understand the issues - but how many of us vote for logical reasons?  Think about it.

But, to our shame, people with disabilities still find it difficult to vote in the United States.

Thank heavens "B" was able to register without difficulties in our home state of New York.  Shameful that so many with disabilities, who want to vote, find themselves disenfranchised.

It's a national disgrace.  I am proud, meantime of my brother in law, for doing his civic duty.

Can we, the neurotypical, do any less?


  1. If he's of age, then he should vote if he so chooses. That's the point, isn't it?

    1. Yes, it is the point. A shame that he was never encouraged when he was younger- in many ways, those with disabilities remain invisible.

  2. As long as one has the mind to make his own choice, then why not let him offer his support? Kudos to your brother in getting 'B' registered to vote. Hoping things get better for the disabled.

  3. I believe anyone who is eligible to vote should exercise that right. Who's to say those without disabilities make logical choices. Glad to see "B" got out there and voted!

  4. I read that piece too, Alana. I do think people with disabilities must be given the freedom to vote. After all their lives too are affected by the political process. Yay for B and for your husband making sure that he got the opportunity.

  5. Just because someone is disabled, it does not mean they are stupid, ignorant or able to form an unbiased opinion. Some of the most intelligent people I know are disabled.


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