Mentally Disabled Voting

Posted at: 11/05/2012 8:29 PM
Updated at: 11/15/2012 5:55 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 News) -- With the elections just a day away, people on both sides are trying to get those last-minute votes. That leaves some people worried about vulnerable adults.

Nathan Sorenson has a job, enjoys video games, and likes playing sports.

"I play softball in the summer," said Nathan.

Like many Americans, he is tired of politics.

"Very tired. I just want it to be done, so hopefully tomorrow is the last day," said Nathan.

Nathan also happens to have an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. He says so many people have tried to convince him who he should be voting for.

"I'm just not voting," he said.

"You know, he's had several things that have been explained to him, or told to him that are a little misleading," said Terry Sorenson, Nathan's father.

While Nathan has made up his mind, there are other adults who have developmental disabilities that may be more vulnerable to people telling them who to vote for.

"There should be a political forum on the national level aimed at the developmental disability community, so they can get the proper information.

Steven Hill, with the Ability Building Center in Rochester, says when it comes to people who work with these vulnerable adults; politics should not even be up for discussion.  

"I don't think it's appropriate for our staff to bias people in their thinking . Because they have choices that they're allowed to make. And they need to be allowed to make those choices through the proper means. Not through a staff person that's working with them directly," said Hill.

"Make your own decisions. Do whatever you want. It's that easy," said Nathan.

Ability Building Center officials say they aren't aware of any specific cases of that happening around southeast Minnesota this election season. They say that people influencing vulnerable adults is always a concern.