Indians and 'Idiots': DOJ Attacks State Power Over Elections

The Obama Justice Department has quietly launched an effort to erode traditional state powers over elections.

In the first instance, Attorney General Loretta Lynch has drafted and sent a bill to Congress which would force state election officials to turn over power to tribal governments to determine the location and number of polling places on Indian reservations in state-run elections.

In the second instance, the DOJ is seeking to erode the power of states to prohibit the mentally incompetent from voting, as long as they express a desire to vote to their caregiver, often a unionized government worker.

In both instances, the Justice Department is acting at the behest of activist groups and undermining powers the Constitution gives to the states.

Given the election results of the last twenty years, it might be surprising to learn that the California constitution says that "no idiot or insane" person shall be entitled to vote. Understand that "idiot" is a legal term used to denote someone who is literally incompetent or incoherent. Other states use the term "imbecile" or the more modern, 'incompetent."

While the terms may be anachronisms, the reasons behind the prohibition on voting are as valid today as they were in 1849. Allowing someone who is not competent or aware to vote corrupts elections -- and invites the patient to be victimized by someone effectively stealing that patient’s vote.

Under the Qualifications Clause of the Constitution, states are vested with the total power to determine who is eligible to vote, subject to bans on racial discrimination in the 15th Amendment, gender discrimination in the 19th Amendment, payment of poll taxes in the 24th Amendment, or the 18-year-old vote in the 26th Amendment.

The Obama Justice Department, however, has launched an effort against California to erode powers under the Qualifications Clause, claiming that practices disqualifying the incompetent might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Civil Rights Division has told California it is opening an investigation into how it decides who is incompetent and thus disqualified to vote. The focus of the investigation is on the Los Angeles Superior Court, the entity which decrees incompetence and then often appoints public guardians to oversee the care of those deemed incompetent to take care of themselves and to vote.

The form used by the court touches on whether the patient has dementia, is in a "state of lethargy" or "stupor," is able to concentrate, recognize familiar faces, is "nonsensical," "incoherent," or has hallucinations.

The Disability and Abuse Project sparked the Justice Department action. The project is a function of a Spectrum Institute and the American Association for Single People (AASP), an organization which aggressively opposes the value of marriage and boasts a board member who is an "advanced practitioner in 'Thought Field Therapy,'" to some, a discredited New Age pseudoscience. The Spectrum Institute/AASP enjoys tax exempt 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.


Though it informed the Spectrum Institute about the action it was taking in California, the DOJ never informed the public. The Justice Department action also comes just in time to bolster support for California Senate Bill 589, which would give those deemed incompetent and put into a conservatorship the right to vote, as long as they express a "desire to participate in the voting process."

In Los Angeles County, members of public sector unions and the purple-shirted SEIU are responsible for the care of many for whom the Superior Court has appointed a conservator.