News by VICE

One disabled man’s fight to restore his right to vote

Thousands of disabled people across the country have quietly been stripped of their voting rights.

by Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani
Oct 30 2016, 6:09am

This segment originally aired Oct. 21, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO

“I, David Rector, want my voting rights restored immediately,” Rector told VICE News correspondent Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani with the help of a computer-assisted voice.

In 2009, Rector suffered a brain injury that left him unable to move or speak. After his fiancé Roz Alexander Kasparik asked to be appointed as Rector’s legal guardian, they learned that meant relinquishing Rector’s right to vote. “David screamed,” Kasparik said.

There are 7 states where requiring a legal guardian because you’re disabled means losing your right to vote, and most others do not explicitly safeguard the voting rights of disabled citizens. Rector and Kasparik immediately began working to restore his voting rights.

“I think putting the burden on somebody with a disability to prove that they can vote is not only cruel and illogical, but I believe that it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act,” disability rights attorney Thomas Coleman said. “If somebody can express a desire to vote, they have a right to vote.”

Rector delivered a letter stating he wanted his voting rights restored to the San Diego Superior Court in August. A week later, he got his right to vote back.

voting rights
Disability Rights
brain injury
Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani
David Rector
disability activist
voting with disability