October 30, 2008

Iowa Dementia Patients for Obama

From the Des Moines Register

Woman, 87, allegedly pressured to cast ballot;

Reports that an 87-year-old Council Bluffs woman was allegedly pressured to vote absentee by a Democratic campaign volunteer raise suspicions that some people who have diminished mental capacity are being targeted, a Republican official said Wednesday.The allegation by Chris Taylor, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, refers to claims by Angela Murphy-Hayes, who said her 87-year-old mother, a dementia patient, was coerced to cast a ballot about two weeks ago.

"This is happening everywhere, but nobody wants to stand up and say anything," Murphy-Hayes said Wednesday. "I'm so mad. It's not right."Secretary of State Michael Mauro said it appears the signature on the mailed ballot matched other legal documents that Murphy-Hayes' mother had signed.Even so, the ballot has been challenged by Murphy-Hayes, which means it will not be counted until a special precinct board can meet and consider her challenge.

The case comes amid nationwide questions about the security and veracity of the U.S. election system. Charges of voter fraud by both political parties have arisen in some parts of the United States.Voter deception, registration fraud and manipulation of Iowa's new optical scan machines are possible but not likely on Election Day due to various safeguards, state officials and a national advocacy group for clean elections said this week.Under Iowa law, residents 18 or older, even people with dementia, generally have the right to vote unless a judge has deemed the person incompetent.

Election officials would likely consider medical information submitted by Hayes-Murphy before deciding whether to count her mother's vote, Mauro said."Just because you might believe that somebody has dementia, that doesn't eliminate them from voting," he said.

No comments: