One day it COULD be official, the criminally insane in the state of New Jersey may not be allowed to vote in any election, ever again.
Blueprints for a bill to dis allow the criminally insane to vote, are being conjured up by N.J. state Sen. Shirley Turner.
“These are the people who have been determined not to know right from wrong, which is why they’re in a psychiatric facility,” Sen. Turner said.
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Nearly 40 patients at Ann Klein Forensic Center voted this election by turning in absentee ballots in Mercer County. These votes were disputed by Mercer County Republicans who prove d seven of the patients were sex offenders on parole for life and not qualified to vote.
The other 33 votes were counted.
The N.J. Department of Human Services sees otherwise. Unless they are serving a prison sentence, parole, probation or have been found unable to understand what voting is all about by a judge, everyone should be eligible to vote, according to Pam Ronan, spokeswoman for DHS.
There are 229 people in the five state psychiatric hospitals that were found not guilty by reason of insanity, Ronan claims, meaning their votes should count.
“Our practice is to respect the patient’s civil rights,” Ronan (DHS) said.
Well, if you look at it that way, the Mercer County Board of Elections may not have been right in discounting the criminally insane's vote.
But, officials do think it is okay for most of the state psychiatric hospital patients to vote.
"There are many people who are committed but are suffering mental diseases,” Paula Sollami Covello, a Mercer County clerk said. “But they are able to understand what they are doing.”