Talk about unconstitutionality! Having received a mental illness diagnosis is apparently a potential disqualification to vote in the state of Kansas. Mental health advocates are urging legislators there to place a proposal on the ballot to remove the mention of mental illness from a provision in the Kansas state Constitution.
As an article in the Lawrence Journal-World & 6News, Mental health advocates seek constitutional change, explains.
The Kansas Constitution states: “The legislature may, by law, exclude persons from voting because of mental illness or commitment to a jail or penal institution.”
Advocates for those with disabilities asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to adopt Senate Concurrent Resolution 1622, which would remove mental illness from the constitutional provision. The committee took the matter under consideration.
It is argued by some mental health advocates that it is wrong to treat the mentally ill the same way as you would treat felons who have had their voting rights taken away from them as punishment for violating the law.
Several committee members questioned whether people with mental illness who are legally committed to an institution could exercise the proper judgment to vote.
Many other committee members were more receptive to reason.
Although this legislation has never been enforced with regards to people baring psychiatric labels, its high time the law was changed to suit conditions existing in a free and open democratic society.