Disability and Guardianship Project

Watch the Aljazeera Network
Broadcast on Voting Rights



Read the Voting Rights Story by the
Center for Investigative Reporting

September 7, 2016
AP:  The Big Story
California Judge Restores
Disabled Man's Right to Vote

David Rector Wants His Right to Vote Restored

Attorney Tom Coleman Outside of Superior Court

Spectrum to DOJ: "Make California
Lift Disability Voting Bans Now"

Based on a complaint filed by Spectrum Institute in 2014, the United States Department of Justice informed us in May 2015 it had opened a statewide investigation looking into voting rights violations by the State of California against people with disabilities who are in conservatorships.

The following month, we held a press conference in Los Angeles announcing a voting rights restoration project to help 32,000 or more conservatees get their voting rights back.

Here we are more than one year later.  With the passage of SB 589 which went into effect on January 1, 2016, the problem has been solved going forward.  With a shortage of staff and backlog of cases, there is little promise of voting rights being restored in a timely manner to these tens of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities who had them taken away by state court judges in violation of federal voting rights laws.  The disenfranchised have until October 24 to get a court order restoring their rights, have the registrar of voters take them off the disqualified list, and then re-register to vote.  That's a tall order -- but it can be done.

We have sent out a media advisory about our press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 23 at 10:00 am at the federal building in San Diego.  We are announcing the filing of a new complaint with the DOJ.  We want people affected by voting rights violations to know they can get their rights restored.  We want the people with power to move the reistatement process along more quickly.  We want the public to understand the laws affecting voting rights and how justice is on the side of these victims of disenfranchisement. 

The negative psychological effects of voter disqualification are real.  That is why David Rector is walking with his supporters to the superior court on Tuesday, to enter the courtroom and insist that the order banning him from voting be rescinded immediately.  He wants others to know they don't need a lawyer to demand that their voting rights be restored.

More than 35 million people with disabilities will be eligible to vote in the presidential election this November.  David wants to be one of them.  He wants his case to be visible and for the publicity to alert others that they can be self-advocates and demand the voting bans against them also be lifted.  All they have to do is write a note to the court, including their name and case number, containing four magic words -- "I want to vote." That puts the burden on the court to restore their voting rights. 

Last year we notified the DOJ that California might delay reinstating the voting rights of the disenfranchised.  Our concerns have proven to be warranted.  With prodding from the DOJ, perhaps these disability voting bans will be lifted quickly.  This problem is not limited to California, so what happens here could have rippling effects in many other states.


Aug. 22 Associated Press Story
Aug. 23 Updated AP Story
Aug. 30 AP Story: Temporary Setback

PBS News / Channel 10 News

Aug. 30 PBS Article/Radio Segment
Sept. 4 Listen to NPR Morning Edition

Daily Journal Op-Ed Article

Business Wire Release
Talking Points

Protest at San Diego Superior Court on
August 23, 2016 Demanding Voting Rights
Restoration for People with Disabilities
Media Advisory

David's Demand

Statement in Support

New DOJ Complaint

Individuals Affected

People with Power

Relevant Laws

Voting Statistics

LA Times Editorial

Warning of Problems

First DOJ Complaint

National Implications

DOJ Letter to California

Guardianship Project

Thomas F. Coleman
Legal Director