A patchwork of state "incompetence" laws cost tens of thousands of Americans their vote every year

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/26/conservatorship-consequences.html


We should just ban anyone from voting who might be influenced by outside agents. You know, everyone.


I’ll leave the ethics aside and just jump to the fact that question 5 is not even grammatically correct, which would make me reread it several times while wondering if I missed the tricky bit.


Let me take a wild guess which of the duopoly parties is trying yet another slimy way to disenfranchise citizens…


That’d be hilarious. Old people are very conservatively slanted. They’re also the largest and most consistent voting block. The republicans would do nothing but shoot themselves in the foot to try and disenfranchise elderly people who possibly have dementia.


Just curious, do people who are disenfranchised still have to pay taxes like income tax, sales tax, etc?


Indeed. Re-instituting taxation without representation is part of making America great again.


Cross out the longest word in this line.


Draw a line a around the shortest word in this line.



Regarding the Louisiana Literacy Test pictured: are Nos. 1 and 4, “draw a line around…” trick questions?


Any politician promoting these tests for voters should be required to pass the exact same ones if they want to remain in office. I’ll bet they suddenly get a lot more rigorous about which tests are used, because, you know…


Not unlike conservative politicians are in favor of drug testing for welfare recipients, but are vehemently opposed for people in public office.


Well I read it a few times and still failed to make it make sense. But then I have no desire to vote in USA, so that’s all good.

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“Advocates for people with mental and developmental disabilities don’t deny that some people lack the capacity to meaningfully exercise their franchise, but they call for a clear, uniform, national standard for who can have their vote taken away.”

I’m fairly dubious that there is any value in denying anyone a vote on this basis. If a tiny number of people are voting essentially at random… they just won’t matter.

There is the possibility they are being coerced or convinced to vote badly… but… you know… that describes almost 50% of those who bothered to vote for president in 2016 rimshot.


Sadly, we won’t know the total practical costs of letting incompetents vote for another two years.

Okay, these tests are intended to be failed. “Draw a line” is the clue, because they use “circle” (and possibly “draw a circle”) in other places. The test-giver can say that the person was told to draw a line (which is not a circle) when someone circles an answer, if the test-giver doesn’t want that person to vote. That’s how perfectly literate people who just happened to be darker than a paper bag (and sometimes po’ white trash susceptible to them socialist notions of unions, or just not a reliable vote for the power structure) failed these tests during Jim Crow.

Having actually been a conservator for my grandmother, I find this test offensive. My grandmother had short-term memory issues and executive dysfunction. She lost her motivation, her ability to plan, and reading comprehension. She did not lose her ability to watch tv, make judgements about political candidates, or her decision-making capacity when it came to voting for candidates or USDA cooperative issues. (We skipped ballot initiatives specifically because of her reading comprehension issues.) Her long-term memory was fine; her political will was known until the last month. She lived long enough to vote for a woman for president. She was a citizen. Her right to vote - if she wanted to vote - was never in question. When she cared, I made sure she could.

Families and caretakers can and should make these decisions; we make them better than a test infamous for ambiguity, which would fail at least 1/3 of the voting population and is subject to the interpretation of the test-giver.


Interesting thing: old people living independently trend conservative*. The ones in assisted living or nursing homes who are still capable of making their politics known? They tend to be liberal as hell on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and social services, including transportation and accessibility. It’s like becoming disabled and relying on government services reminds them of empathy, or at least self-preservation.

Of course, by the time most end up in skilled nursing, they often can’t make their politics known, but the ones who can are vocal about doing what they can.

  • I suspect because being old and somewhat fragile is deeply frightening, and frightened people tend to be reactionary. Also, because being old and fragile is lonely, and day-time tv is a vast wasteland. At least Fox feels like people talking to you, not at you. Not to excuse Fox Geezer Syndrome, but it happens for a reason.
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Y’all do know these tests were legally abolished roughly 50 years ago, right? Even Cory should know this, even though he’s Canadian.

Old people living independently might just have more money.

The money doesn’t last once assisted care is needed. Assisted runs between $3500-$5000 a month. Skilled nursing starts around $7500 a month. And in a rare case of cities being cheaper, it’s cheaper to be in SNF in a city than a rural county. (By a few hundred. It’s still ruinous.)

The elderly extend independent living as long as possible (and often beyond their limits) because they don’t have a high income or savings; their primary assets are home/land. Houses take time to sell, and there’s often extensive deferred maintenance.

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They are all trick questions. The instructions change from one to the next in a way intended to cause mistakes. Add to that the part about “a single mistake means you fail” and you’re guaranteed to filter out most of the undesirables.