Crucial Pam Fessler for NPR:
Tens of thousands of Americans with disabilities have lost their voting rights. It usually happens when a court assigns a legal guardian to handle their affairs. Now, some of those affected are fighting to get back those rights.
David Rector recently went to Superior Court in San Diego, Calif., to file a request to have his voting rights restored. Rector lost those rights in 2011 when his fiance, Rosalind Alexander-Kasparik, was appointed his conservator after a brain injury left him unable to walk or speak.
Alexander-Kasparik says he was still able to communicate his wishes to a court clerk.
“He did manage to say through his electronic voice on his eye-tracking device, ‘I, David Rector, want my voting rights restored, immediately,'” she told supporters outside the courthouse.
That’s crucial, because under a new California law, individuals with guardians have to express a desire to vote to be able to do so.
Rector, who used to work as a producer for NPR, is believed to be one of more than 30,000 Californians — and an unknown number of others in the U.S. — who’ve lost their voting rights under state guardianship laws.