Court Ruling on My Special Needs Son’s Voting Rights

 

UPDATE for my previous post: “A New Democratic Party Vote Mining Initiative?” We (my son, his caregiver and I) have just returned from the Probate Court where the judge ruled in my favor rescinding the voting rights for my speech-challenged (non-verbal) mentally-impaired Autistic son. When I checked in with the court clerk before proceedings began, she expressed shock that I would be challenging my son’s right to vote. I made it plain to her, and to the judge later, that the court investigator had submitted false and fabricated information to the court declaring that my son was not only verbal (when he is clearly not) but also that he had responded affirmatively to a question (that she never asked) about his desire to vote. When I made this declaration to the judge, he postponed discussion on the matter for about 45 minutes so he could quickly rule on some other cases while giving the public defender the opportunity to communicate with my son before making his ruling.

When it became clear to the public defender that my son was unresponsive to her questions and not establishing eye contact with her, she agreed that he was indeed not verbal. She also realized that she had a court inspector working for her office that was fabricating information, and asked for her name which I cheerfully gave her. Whether that inspector will be reprimanded or even brought before a court for perjury isn’t clear. The cynic in me believes that she may get her hand slapped and continue to go about her work. The next general conservatorship hearing on the status of my son and his care and well-being won’t be for another 3 years at which time another inspector will be sent to our home to interview me and my son. I will video that interview.

Based on my observations while in court of other special needs adults who preceded our case and who also appeared incapable of speaking intelligently or comprehending what was being communicated to them, it seems that the State of California’s position is that unless there is an objection raised by the conservator of the special needs adult (as there was in my case), that the mentally challenged person is by default granted voting rights. I say this because even as the judge viewed the uncommunicative or quite distracted behavior of at least two individuals, he still announced that their voting rights were intact. If my anecdotal observation is more the rule than the exception, then this should be quite disturbing for the potential voter fraud that could ensue using state records that declare that a mentally-limited or severely mentally impaired adult and local or absentee ballots that are filled out in their names possibly unbeknownst to the parents and/or conservators.

Of course, to the degree that there may be something more nefarious at play — generating votes from special needs adults who don’t have the intellectual capability to be conversant or inquisitive, understand current events, community issues or life around them in any meaningful way — the challenge to prove this would be a Herculean effort. A diligent investigative reporter (do they exist anymore?) or federal voting rights investigator, say from the Department of Justice, may find it quite difficult to gain access to medical or psychiatric records on special needs individuals because of possible HIPAA entanglements; conservators who are currently voting (essentially double-voting) using their conservatee’s rights and don’t wish to grant access to the conservatee; or gaining access to special needs individuals outside any formal court process.

My last post generated some interesting responses from Ricochet members who cited voting rights abuses and possible abuse in the special needs community. I think we must presume, that given the hurdles and barriers involved just to monitor this sector of the electorate we may never know the extent of the voter fraud that may be taking place. We may have to be content with the occasional case that comes to light and hope that the law will be followed and perpetrators will be found guilty and penalized accordingly.

For me, I can at least get some sleep. Making a clear declaration in court that a court inspector lied and committed perjury wasn’t fun to live with these last several weeks. That said, I’ll still check to see if my son’s name shows up listed as a voter at my address on polling place ledgers. If it does, then I’ll still have work to do.

From my previous post on the matter:

https://ricochet.com/439253/a-new-democratic-vote-mining-initiative/

As many of you know, I’m the father of a 24-year old severely Autistic young man who lives with me. My son has always been speech challenged. He is non-conversant and expresses himself with only rudimentary requests. “I want this,” or “I want that,” or “Disneyland,” or “car,” or “walk,”, or responses like “No, thank you!” My son enjoys watching YouTube, Disney movies, Star Wars, and the occasional Hitchcock film (especially Vertigo). But he doesn’t understand what happens in the news and certainly doesn’t understand politics. Let’s face it, a lot of us don’t really understand politics either but we do a good job of faking it and get by.

After his eighteenth birthday, I also became my son’s legal conservator (along with my ex-wife) so I could retain certain rights and controls over his well-being – where he lives, his healthcare, managing his day-to-day care in working with caregiving agencies and the local Regional Center, etc. The State of California, through the probate court system, checks in with my son’s welfare every few years by sending out an investigator from the public defender’s office prior to a scheduled court hearing in front of a judge. This is generally a good thing to make sure that individuals in the Special Needs community are being well-cared for and not abused.

During the visit, the investigator asks various questions about my son’s health, his doctors, his medications, checks out his bedroom, and then asks my son the occasional question which he replies with an unintelligible response or by completely ignoring the investigator.

Prior to the court hearing, I am sent the investigator’s written report that will be reviewed by the judge. Here are a few of the questions asked and what was checked for my son’s response (I’ve bolded what the investigator checked):

Advisement:

When informed that he is under a conservatorship and told the name of the conservator(s), the conservatee

Made no intelligible response

Replied:___________________________________

Did not respond in any manner

When asked if he wished to continue to be under conservatorship, the conservatee:

Made no intelligible response

Replied:___________________________________

Did not respond in any manner

Here’s where it gets interesting:

Voting Rights:

The conservatee is able to communicate a desire to participate in the voting process

Yes

No

This is a change from previous recommendations/status

Comments: The conservatee is verbal and able to express a desire to participate in the voting process.

Needless to say, the information under the Voting Rights section is false and a complete fabrication… especially since I was in the room and this question was never asked of my son. If it had been asked, my son would have been non-responsive, would have responded unintelligibly or would have asked to go to Disneyland.

Unfortunately, my son doesn’t have a clue what it means to vote or what the words “ballot,” “politics,” “elections,” “candidates,” “mayors,” “governors,” “senators,” “congress,” “measures,” or even “judge” mean. In a voting booth, my son would be apt to destroy the machine once he found that it couldn’t do much other than let him spin the dial around and around. It wouldn’t be pretty.

So, I called the investigator on it and her response was essentially that this is how the court wants the information to be filled in. I asked her if this was a new Democratic Party Get Out The Vote initiative. She laughed. I told her I was concerned that an absentee ballot would be issued in my son’s name. She replied that I shouldn’t be concerned.

Look it’s clear that there are millions of voters who are more intellectually endowed than my son… but there are also millions of voters who haven’t a clue about current events, history, the American Idea, the Constitution, the law, what it means to mishandle top secret documents or lie to Congress or the FBI, or have a clue about any of the candidates they vote for or issues that they vote on. How else does one explain Maxine Waters or the popular vote for Hillary Clinton? Of course, my son does know quite a bit more about life and current events than the thousands of deceased Democrat voters who continue to vote in successive elections. So, there is that.

I’ll be visiting the court on Tuesday with my son and look forward to bringing this topic up with the judge. Perhaps the judge would like to ask my son directly whether he wants to vote. That will be fun.

There are 50 comments.

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  1. SkipSul Moderator

    I’m very glad you got the court to see at least some sense on this. Jeepers but this is a horrid way for these creeps to abuse your son.

    • #1
    • July 25, 2017, at 5:47 PM PDT
    • 19 likes
  2. Jimmy Carter Member

    Thank You for the update, Watt.

    Brian Watt: A diligent investigative reporter (do they exist anymore?)

    O’Keefe.

    • #2
    • July 25, 2017, at 5:50 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher

    The information about adults under conservatorship may be hard to get one’s hands on, but it has been created, collected, collated, and is therefore available to someone. It would be interesting to know a few things:

    1. Who does have access to that information?
    2. How many of the adults in question actually vote?
    3. How many of those adults request absentee ballots?

    The other thing that would be interesting to know is what percentage votes for which party. That information probably is not created, but I think I know what the answer would be anyway.

    • #3
    • July 25, 2017, at 5:54 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Post author

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    Thank You for the update, Watt.

    Brian Watt: A diligent investigative reporter (do they exist anymore?)

    O’Keefe.

    Yes, there is James…but even he and his team might find some major hurdles in his way that I alluded to in the OP. If there is a nest of snakes there, then getting bit is a strong possibility. I don’t think this area of inquiry would be a quick endeavor. It may take several years of diligent and painstaking research and that’s just for one state, and California is a big state.

    • #4
    • July 25, 2017, at 5:56 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Western Chauvinist Member

    I find it completely believable that voter fraud is happening using special needs adults to obtain extra ballots. It’s happening en masse in nursing homes exploiting the elderly with dementia.

    • #5
    • July 25, 2017, at 6:13 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Good work, Brian. This situation is so outrageous, is such an abuse of power and even a person’s humanity—no words. Once again, I celebrate your courage and determination to stand up for your son, to challenge the court, and to keep tabs on future outcomes. And I think that court clerk was completely out of line for challenging your actions–someone should give her a good talking to, also. Good luck and G-d bless.

    • #6
    • July 25, 2017, at 6:15 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher

    And another, meta-question: if my questions above were asked in an environment where perjury was attached, how long would things progress before someone quotes the 5th Amendment?

    • #7
    • July 25, 2017, at 6:17 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Doug Watt Member
    • #8
    • July 25, 2017, at 6:28 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  9. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Post author

    Thanks all for your kind comments. They are very much appreciated. All the best.

    • #9
    • July 25, 2017, at 6:40 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. Doug Watt Member

    Percival (View Comment):
    And another, meta-question: if my questions above were asked in an environment where perjury was attached, how long would things progress before someone quotes the 5th Amendment?

    About 30 seconds.

    • #10
    • July 25, 2017, at 6:42 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    Thank You for the update, Watt.

    Brian Watt: A diligent investigative reporter (do they exist anymore?)

    O’Keefe.

    Not a bad idea. Get this story to Project Veritas and see if they can do anything with it.

    • #11
    • July 25, 2017, at 6:46 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Qoumidan Member

    Thank you very much for the update.

    • #12
    • July 25, 2017, at 6:47 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Jules PA Member

    A victory. It is baby steps back to sanity, but a victory, none the less.

    Be well.

    • #13
    • July 25, 2017, at 6:49 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Great job, Brian. You might not believe this, but the Seattle Times has done some excellent investigative reporting lately. There are/were neurosurgeons at a Swedish Hospital unit who were doing as many as three complicated surgeries at a time. They would shuttle between ORs, supervising (?) the doctors who were really doing the operating. The Times spoke with the parents and relatives of more than one patient who had died or been irreparably injured by such doctors.

    • #14
    • July 25, 2017, at 7:06 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Cow Girl Thatcher

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    I find it completely believable that voter fraud is happening using special needs adults to obtain extra ballots. It’s happening en masse in nursing homes exploiting the elderly with dementia.

    We talked at the meet up on Sunday night. I’m glad you were able to get this resolved. Truly, I expect that this event with your son is an orchestrated, planned, and not-uncommon misuse and misrepresentation in order to facilitate voter fraud.

    • #15
    • July 25, 2017, at 7:34 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Kim K. Member

    This story astounds me. I was reading over the highlights to the husband and he recalled a co-worker of his from several years ago who was in a situation much like yours. His adult son, while attending day care, was being pumped full of “let’s help Clinton build the bridge” or some such. Of course, the day care clients were made to feel excited about something they most likely didn’t have a clue about. I wonder if the day care arranged a field trip to the polls on election day.

    • #16
    • July 25, 2017, at 7:50 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    Brian, so glad you could advocate for your son; and found a venue in which to be heard and heeded. Kudos to you and the beloved Bengal Tiger. In thought and heart always…

    • #17
    • July 25, 2017, at 9:41 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  18. LibertyDefender Member

    Brian Watt:… the court investigator had submitted false and fabricated information to the court declaring that my son was verbal (when he is clearly not) and responded affirmatively to a question about his desire to vote that she never asked. …

    When it became clear later to the public defender that … she had a court inspector working for her office that was fabricating information and asked for her name which I cheerfully gave her. Whether that inspector will be reprimanded or even brought before a court for perjury isn’t clear. The cynic in me believes that she may get her hand slapped and continue to go about her work.

    In my brief exposure to a court inspector in a family law matter, I was astonished at the extent of her dishonesty. She also claimed that I had responded to questions that she had not asked. Fortunately, the situation resolved before her report could do any real damage. It is difficult for me to think too much about that, because the reasonable implications and extrapolations immediately become overwhelming.

    As for your inner cynic, I find myself often paraphrasing Lily Tomlin: I try to be cynical, but it’s so hard to keep up.

    • #18
    • July 26, 2017, at 2:44 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  19. Acook Member

    In some states, absentee ballots don’t have to be asked for. Here in Colorado, we are on an entirely mail in ballot system, so all registered voters get a ballot in the mail. Who knows what happens to the ballots sent out to incompetent adults? I think Oregon uses this system, also.

    • #19
    • July 26, 2017, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Fred Cole Member

    I think the position of the state of California that a person with developmental disabilities by default has voting rights is the correct one. Look, I understand concerns about voter fraud or guardians double voting, but I’d rather the default position err on the side of people having voting rights than taking them away.

    • #20
    • July 26, 2017, at 7:27 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Mike H Coolidge

    Somewhat unrelated to the OP, but have you heard that there’s zeroing in on the lack of estrogen receptor expression as a cause of autism?

    Giving estrogen to autistic mice relieves their symptoms. They’re looking into creating drugs that activate estrogen receptors (since giving autistic men straight estrogen is obviously problematic). Maybe they’re onto something that will help your son someday. :)

    Update: I just did some quick research. It looks like there’s a drug in the very early stages that’s being developed for cancer called KB9520. There may be other “oestrogen receptor β-selective (ERβ) agonists” around, but this is the one I was able to find with a quick search. You might want to keep an eye on it in case it ever gets approved (probably a long way off if ever at this point) because if it ever gets approval with cancer it might be worth trying out on your son if you can convince a doctor to prescribe (and can afford it).

    A ridiculous long shot at this point, but you never know.

    • #21
    • July 26, 2017, at 7:58 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. PHCheese Member

    Last November while I was voting a mother and her challenged son were in line in front of me. I can’t actually say the extent of his problems but his mother put the pen in his hand and then moved it in order to make an X. She then proceeded to go in the voting booth with him while he just stood there. His vote had the potential to cancel my vote. Your situation in CA is definitely an another attempt by Democrats to creative voter fraud.

    • #22
    • July 26, 2017, at 8:22 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Fred Cole (View Comment):
    I think the position of the state of California that a person with developmental disabilities by default has voting rights is the correct one. Look, I understand concerns about voter fraud or guardians double voting, but I’d rather the default position err on the side of people having voting rights than taking them away.

    I think that I disagree, though it may be a matter of terminology and may vary from state to state.

    In general, a guardian or conservator is not appointed for an adult unless that adult is mentally incompetent, meaning unable to properly manage their personal and financial affairs. Giving such a person a voice in governmental affairs makes no sense to me.

    • #23
    • July 26, 2017, at 8:30 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  24. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Post author

    Fred Cole (View Comment):
    I think the position of the state of California that a person with developmental disabilities by default has voting rights is the correct one. Look, I understand concerns about voter fraud or guardians double voting, but I’d rather the default position err on the side of people having voting rights than taking them away.

    It’s a compelling sentiment, Fred but here is how the process works. Typically when a special needs person turns 18, it is incumbent on parents who want to continue to care for their son or daughter to apply for conservatorship from the state in order to be granted certain powers and rights over the individual. If they don’t apply for conservatorship and the special needs person is able to articulate that they no longer want to live at home, then parents don’t have the right to keep the young adult at home. This can be very distressing in cases of some mental disorders of course.

    In most cases, the state grants only limited powers to parents so as to protect some of the special needs person’s rights. During the first conservatorship hearing, in cases of special needs individuals with mental impairments or disorders, a medical and psychiatric evaluation is requested by the state to determine the individual’s level of disability or dysfunction. My son’s non-communicative state and lack of awareness was duly recorded and submitted by his psychiatrist to the court at that time.

    Further, at the first hearing after he turned 18, the judge and public defender also could witness his lack of comprehension, awareness and lack of speech first hand in the court room – in fact, when the judge did interact with him, my son was non-communicative and non-responsive – as well as refer to the psychiatrist report and it should have been evident immediately that he would be unable to vote and unable to comprehend what voting meant. The court saw my son two years later and nothing about his cognitive abilities or behavior had changed. The court, on both of those occasions, could have made the determination that was ineligible to vote. For some reason the voting rights issue wasn’t listed on any of the court inspection reports or other documents until this year.

    Of course, my son’s case gets more intriguing when an officer of the court submits a false inspection report to the court that flies in the face of and contradicts all previous documentation or what they actually witnessed -risking their own possible incarceration for perjury. That was what shocked me and compelled to wonder why someone would do this and take that risk and whether or not these falsehoods particularly about voting rights aren’t challenged more frequently by parents/conservators who know full well that their son or daughter doesn’t have the intellectual capability to vote or even know what voting means.

    So, the state has had ample opportunity to assess an individual’s mental state and cognitive abilities as soon as they turn 18 and subsequently in follow up hearing and request updated psychiatric evaluations. The state (as represented by the Public Defender’s office) in this case ignored the findings they had on file and continued to ignore my son’s obvious behavior and then lied to the court.

    And what I witnessed while waiting for our case to be heard was that the judge granted voting rights to at least two individuals who from my observation didn’t exhibit any cognitive ability or awareness of what was going on in the courtroom. I grant that I could be wrong about them. Perhaps these special needs individuals were just shy and are actually more communicative and aware when at home. But I have my doubts.

    • #24
    • July 26, 2017, at 9:22 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  25. Qoumidan Member

    Fred Cole (View Comment):
    I think the position of the state of California that a person with developmental disabilities by default has voting rights is the correct one. Look, I understand concerns about voter fraud or guardians double voting, but I’d rather the default position err on the side of people having voting rights than taking them away.

    I think the issue was not whether the disabled could vote but whether the guardian was essentially allowed 2 votes. It might be very hard to tell.

    • #25
    • July 26, 2017, at 9:49 AM PDT
    • Like
  26. Fred Cole Member

    Qoumidan (View Comment):
    I think the issue was not whether the disabled could vote but whether the guardian was essentially allowed 2 votes. It might be very hard to tell.

    Right. I agree that it’s hard to tell. In order for guardianship to work, the guardian has to put the needs of the ward ahead of their own interests. Not everyone has the requisite character.

    In other words, it requires someone to do the right thing. And while I’m in favor of guarding against fraud, I think the default should be to grant voting rights to a person unless the process indicates they shouldn’t have it.

    • #26
    • July 26, 2017, at 10:01 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. SkipSul Moderator

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Qoumidan (View Comment):
    I think the issue was not whether the disabled could vote but whether the guardian was essentially allowed 2 votes. It might be very hard to tell.

    Right. I agree that it’s hard to tell. In order for guardianship to work, the guardian has to put the needs of the ward ahead of their own interests. Not everyone has the requisite character.

    In other words, it requires someone to do the right thing. And while I’m in favor of guarding against fraud, I think the default should be to grant voting rights to a person unless the process indicates they shouldn’t have it.

    It used to be that registering to vote required a deliberate act on the part of individuals. Since the damnable Motor Voter bill this has changed and registering to vote is practically a default activity whenever one has any interaction with about any branch of government. Prior to the MVA, people such as Brian’s son would never even have been asked, and he would of course not be able to go and register himself. For those who did want to register, but had physical debilities preventing them, every state had some sort of accommodation available to allow them or assist them, but the MVA opened the floodgates.

    I remember when I turned 18 I had to go to the county courthouse to register – took all of an hour when you include the drive, and then I was done. When I moved back to Ohio I was registered in the same moment I got my driver’s license.

    • #27
    • July 26, 2017, at 10:47 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  28. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    Your situation in CA is definitely an another attempt by Democrats to creative voter fraud.

    Ahem, you should see the huge numbers of homeless people who mysteriously vote en masse for Democrats in downtown Seattle. Many, many of them are mentally impaired, are alcoholics or on drugs.

    • #28
    • July 26, 2017, at 3:36 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  29. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Fred Cole (View Comment):

    Qoumidan (View Comment):
    I think the issue was not whether the disabled could vote but whether the guardian was essentially allowed 2 votes. It might be very hard to tell.

    Right. I agree that it’s hard to tell. In order for guardianship to work, the guardian has to put the needs of the ward ahead of their own interests. Not everyone has the requisite character.

    In other words, it requires someone to do the right thing. And while I’m in favor of guarding against fraud, I think the default should be to grant voting rights to a person unless the process indicates they shouldn’t have it.

    Fred, what process — beyond appointment of a guardian or conservator in the first place — would indicate that the ward should not have voting rights, in your view? Is there something beyond general mental incompetence that you would require?

    I realize that this is a touchy subject, as we have an unsavory history of denying the vote to racial minorities (especially blacks) based on unfairly administered tests. At the risk of political blasphemy, I’m somewhat skeptical of the universal franchise. I’m not convinced that restrictions would be better, but am willing to consider alternatives such as raising the voting age, perhaps some sort of (fair) citizenship/civics test, or adding some additional qualifications.

    I may be biased by the expectation that such restrictions would give us a more conservative group of voters, but I think that there is a legitimate concern about voting by those who are appallingly unintelligent, ignorant, or uninformed. I realize that the cure for these problems may be worse than the disease, so I would want to proceed cautiously.

    Prohibiting voting by convicted criminals and persons adjudicated as mentally incompetent seem reasonable to me.

    • #29
    • July 26, 2017, at 4:27 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  30. profdlp Inactive

    Fred Cole (View Comment):
    …I’d rather the default position err on the side of people having voting rights than taking them away.

    Where is the error? This woman flat-out lied and was caught red-handed.

    • #30
    • July 26, 2017, at 5:07 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
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