Saturday, 3 November 2007

State Public Question No. 4

Yes, you should immediately worry... I'm actually reading the voting ballot that is mailed out to us constituants of the 4th District.

So here it is:

'STATE PUBLIC QUESTION No. 4
Constitutional Amendment Concerning the Right to Vote for Certain Persons'

(Ready for this? It is a show-stopper...)

'Shall the amendment of Article II, Section I, paragraph 6 of the Constitution, agreed to by the Legislature, revising the current constitutional language concerning denial of the right to vote by deleting the phrase "idiot or insane person" and providing instead that a "person who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to lack the capacity to understand the act of voting" shall not enjoy the right of suffrage, be adopted?'

(Huh?)

'INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

Approval of this amendment concerning the denial of the right to vote would delete the phrase "idiot or insane person" and replace that phrase with "person who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to lack the capacity to understand the act of voting" in describing those persons who shall be denied the right to vote. The phrase "idiot or insane person" is outdated, vague, offensive to many, and may be subject to misinterpretation. This constitutional amendment acknowledges that individuals with cognitive or emotional dasabilities may otherwise be capable of making decisions in the voting booth and that their right of self-determination should be respected and protected in this regard. The amendment only denies the right of suffrage to those individuals determined by the court, on a case-by-case basis, to lack the capacity to understand the act of voting.'

Did any of you understand that? We were laughing about this at dinner last night, with Tom and Alayna. Tom and Luis had both read this. And when I read it, I know what I was thinking... Most people are idiots and this would disallow 3/4 of the base population would be inelegible to vote. I might be inclusive in that group... while I have a brain, I am unknowledgeable about the various candidates and what they do.

OK, some of it is a no-brainer. I know the basic functions of a sheriff. I have some idea of where a councilman falls on the totem pole. State Senate - okay, still know what that is. But what is a Member of the General Assembly? What is a Surrogate? You may be thinking a "surrogate" is a substitute, but guess what - it only reads "surrogate", and does not tell the reader what this person is to be a surrogate of. You would think that this would be considered key information. Clearly not. Member of Council and Board of Freeloaders is also meaningless.

(Yes, I know it really reads "Board of Freeholders" but we are talking about entry-level politicians. This makes it okay to malign them by calling them Freeloaders.)

Well, so there you have it. Us idiots can't vote!

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