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People with Disabilities: Past

The evolution of guardianship and voting in Minnesota has led to greater protections of the right of individuals with disabilities to vote. All individuals with disabilities retain the right to vote, unless a court determines that the individual lacks that capacity specifically.

Federal law and court decisions protect the voting rights of individuals with disabilities  even if a state constitution  limits those rights based on disability or guardianship. Such limitations must be based on a case-by-case Taking every case individually, meaning that no judgment can be made for a whole group of people basis regarding the person’s actual capacity to vote, not on broad generalizations, stereotypes or outdated ideas about disability.

Voting is a Fundamental Liberty Right

Voting is a Fundamental Liberty Right

Source: Disability Justice

Minnesota Voting Rights for People with Disabilities

When the Minnesota Constitution was first adopted in 1857, individuals placed under guardianship When someone is legally responsible for the care of another were prohibited from voting along with most people with felony records.

Minnesota law in 1858 specifically defined guardianship as taking “the care and custody of the persons and property of insane persons, habitual drunkards, or others, who are mentally incompetent to have the care and management of their own property.” Some regulations saw minor changes, but in general, over one hundred years went by under these restrictive laws.

In 1974, the Minnesota Constitution was rewritten and adopted, stating that everyone 18 or older who has been a citizen of the United States for three months and has been living in their current precinct for 30 days before an election can vote in that precinct, but people under guardianship or who were declared “insane or not mentally competent” were still denied the vote.