|People with intellectual or developmental disabilities have the right to vote.
California is a state in the United States of America.
In California it is sometimes hard
This happens because a judge can take their right away from them.
The Disability and Abuse Project is a group that supports
They want to make sure this will not happen anymore in the future
Disability and Abuse Project advocates have filed an official complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the several thousand people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in California who are or may be subjected to voting discrimination.
According to the Disability and Abuse Project, their action was motivated by Californian judges’ repeated removal of voting rights for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities under guardianship. Among several violations, the complaint lists the use of literacy tests by judges in order to attest voting capacity – practice in direct breach of the 1965 US Voting Rights Act. Other statutory infractions publicized by the advocates are not offering or restricting voting assistance, which also breaches the 1965 Voting Rights Act, or discriminating voters due to their disability, thus infringing on the 1973 US Rehabilitation Act.
Attorney Thomas F. Coleman, from the Disability and Abuse Project, warned that the issues put forth by the complaint are not only taking place in Los Angeles (L.A.) but at a nation-wide scale: “The problem of voting rights violations of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is not isolated to Los Angeles. Such civil rights violations are occurring elsewhere in California. Indeed, this is happening in many states throughout the nation.”
Mr. Coleman explained that parents of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities who want to become the legal guardians of their children after they turn 18 need to seek legal authority from the court. This procedure has unwanted consequences, and can lead to the young people with intellectual disabilities losing their right to vote, as research by the Disability and Abuse Project of 61 recent cases in L.A. shows that 90 percent of the approximately 10,000 people in the area under guardianship may be denied voting participation.
Therefore, the advocacy group is asking the US Department of Justice to both launch an investigation into their complaint and “instruct the L.A. Superior Court to make reasonable modifications of its policies and practices” in order to ensure people with intellectual or developmental disabilities will not be disenfranchised in the future.
The Disability and Abuse Project is a function of Spectrum Institute, a nonprofit educational corporation. The Project works with nonprofit organizations, media, government agencies, and individual advocates. The Disability and Abuse Projec focuses on fighting against physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.
Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.
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