The rights of disabled voters in Colorado

9NEWS @ 4. 10/31/2016

KUSA - The days leading up to the election are a busy for Dawn Howard at Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.

"We really want to encourage all people with disabilities in the state to vote," she said.

Howard has cerebral palsy and is helping organize a phone bank to call some of the 2,000 disability coalition members. The reminder: go vote.

"All people can vote and nobody should tell people how they should vote," Howard said. "There are some misconceptions, especially around people with intellectual/cognitive disabilities."

However, those are just that - misconceptions.

"We are one of a few states that does not limit a person's right to vote because of mental incapacity or because somebody has a guardian," said Jennifer Levin, an attorney with Disability Law Colorado.

Just a few states around the country share Colorado's strict determination, when it comes to removing the right to vote from a physically or mentally challenged person.

"In Colorado, the only way you can be determined incapacitated to vote would be if a court ordered that, specifically saying, 'you are incapacitated to vote,'" Levin said.

But does that leave a lot to chance or the possibility of fraud? Levin said the law makes certain assumptions.

"The state assumes that that the person is voting the way they want to vote, not the way the person who is assisting them will help them vote," she said.

Between now and election day, for Dawn Howard, her driving mission is to make sure everyone's vote counts.

"And it's really important that everybody votes, whether or not you have a disability or not because we make the decisions for everybody in the state," Howard said.

The Secretary of State's Office has put up a list of Frequently Asked Questions when it comes to your right to vote if you have a disability. You can find it here.

Disability Law Colorado also has a voting guide here.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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