Mentally challenged man says his vote was stolen (Update)

This is quite a disturbing story coming out of Albany, Georgia where a mentally handicapped patient was taken to vote and claims the person helping in the voting booth told him who to vote for, and even pulled the lever for him against his will.

This should concern any voter since, as you can imagine, if this happens where someone assisting a mentally challenged person steals their vote for Obama, they could just as easily steal a vote for McCain.

Video report from local Albany, Georgia on WALB:

The story from WALB.com:

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – There are allegations of voter fraud, as a Dougherty County family claims the vote of a mentally challenged relative was stolen.

They say the adult day rehab program where Jack Justice attends took him to vote, without the family’s permission. What’s worse is Justice says the person helping him wouldn’t cast the ballot for his choice for President.

Jack Justice has been voting since he turned 18. Typically his family takes him to their neighborhood precinct. This time Primus Industries, his adult day rehab program, took him to vote. His family was shocked, but what shocked them more was that Jack claims that his aide commandeered his vote.

“They told me to vote for Obama, I said no I wanted to vote for McCain,” said Jack Justice, a voter.

Jack Justice says the person helping him, selected Obama’s name. His sister says the family is often asked to sign a permission slips for trips, but for this they were never notified.

“No permission slips, no nothing, he just came home and said he had gone,” said Nancy Justice, Jack’s sister.

We questioned election officials about the procedure, who say they recall the group coming in to vote and an aide was helping the individuals, but they must sign an oath that they’ll cast the ballot however the voter prefers.

“So it plainly says the person should tell the person how they want to vote and then they help them mark it,” said Carolyn Hatcher, Dougherty County Elections Supervisor.

Election officials say they can’t follow people into the booth to see what happens. We contacted the Albany Area Community Service Board who oversees Primus Industries. They say they do their best to protect the safety, treatment, and care of the individuals in their programs. They also said they’ll look into the allegations and conduct an internal investigation if necessary. Nancy Justice is just upset the incident happened.

“For me it was kind of pushing it to the limit there to get him to vote for someone in particular who they wanted him to vote for,” said Nancy Justice.

Election officials say the family’s only option is to file a challenge to the election results. The Justice’s are considering their options.

Advance voting will begin this Monday at the Riverfront Resource Center on Pine Avenue. Advance voted will run through October 31st. No one will be able to vote the Monday prior to election day.

The votes of the mentally challenged should never be commandeered like this, in favor of any candidate. The person helping Jack should be ashamed of their actions. Nothing prevents this really from happening on either side which is why I thought it should be brought to light.

Just let people vote honestly, it’s not that hard, it’s democracy in action.

Update

An update about the investigation from WALB.com:

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – State election officials are launching their own investigation into the handling of a mentally challenged man’s vote.

Secretary of State Karen Handle’s office contacted WALB Thursday to tell us they asked the Office of Inspector General to investigate Jack Justice’s voting experience.

Wednesday, the Albany Area Community Service Board which oversees Primus Industries said they will bring in an external agency to investigate allegations made by Justice.

He told his family that an aide from Primus took him and five other mentally challenged clients to vote and forced them to vote for Barack Obama.

Justice says he told the aide he wanted to vote for John McCain, but was overridden.

Election officials say if that happened, the aide will face criminal charges.

Let’s hope some justice can be found here.

Note: Derogatory jokes and/or comments about the mentally challenged will be removed.

  • Babs

    What really gets me on this is that the family was told the only option they had was to challenge election results. The Election Commission told them this. And it’s a lie.

    Mr. Justice named the aide that broke this law, yet no one has been arrested, and it was done with five others as well. The trip was unauthorized, and the votes were stolen. Someone should be in jail today. But they’re not.

  • Deb

    If the vote had been for McCain it would be front page news or breaking news on all the networks. I agree with you. They know who did it and they should be arrested. If the 5 others didn’t want to vote for Obama then there are 6 votes. I think it is going to take at least of few of these people to end up in jail before they stop doing it. When is the government going to step in? If they don’t start then it will look like the government doesn’t have a problem with all of this fraud.

  • EricF

    wow! that is very disturbing. do people have no shame? none at all? this has to be investigated. i wonder how isolated of an incident this is.

  • Babs

    Well, EricF, this SHOULD be investigated, and it SHOULD be on national news channels. Nate was wonderful to post it here. Unfortunately, no one is picking it up. It seems that if you’re one kind of person and your vote is stolen, it’s illegal. If you’re like Jack, it’s ok. At least that’s what Albany, Georgia law says as of now.

    They’re not even releasing the name of the aide, and she’s not bothering to deny it. She’s also not been fired, much less arrested.

  • JD

    First, it is wrong to steal anyone’s vote.

    Secondly, they do need to do some investigations into this and there needs to be some public trial so we can help scare people from doing in the future.

    Thirdly, as Nate said, nothing can be done to make sure this doesn’t happen and most likely it has happened in Previous elections.

    Fourthly, Big Shock that a mentally challenged person *** Edited by Admin ***

    Note from Admin: I asked people not make jokes about mentally challenged voters, yet you did anyway, thanks.

  • JD

    I am sorry nate… I didn’t see that last part in your post when I wrote that comment.

    I am trying to follow the rules of this site.

  • Babs

    Oh yes,something can be done to make sure this particular type of incident doesn’t happen again. Primus Industries had no authority from the family to take Jack or the 5 other people to the polls to begin with. Primus Industries is liable here as well, and it’s funded by the government.

    In case you didn’t get it in the story, Jack has been voting since he was 18. He is high functioning, JD, apparently more high functioning than you.

    Sorry, Nate. Thanks for editing.

  • JD

    Babs, Thanks for that shot.

    I apoligize again because I didn’t see Nate’s message.

    I will do my best to only respond unemotionally with no sarcasism or humor.

    Like a good obediant dog, I have been recieving my licks when I act up but thank you for adding yours on top of it.

    I apoligize for the comment.

  • Something needs to be done to stop this in the future, perhaps have an election official help them make their choice and not and aide or family member.

  • U.S.A.

    They may not be able to change the vote but they could lay down some licks on the person who did this and lay off JD.

  • Mike A

    The election aid should have his vote forced to be for Mccain, if he hasn’t voted yet. Why can’t they just change the votes that were miscast? I guess that’s a naive question. I would like to hear more about what took place in the booth from both parties. It’s a sensitive topic in that we aren’t sure what sort of exchange took place yet. From these updates, though, it seems like Justice is more than capable and eligible to vote for the candidate of his choice. This type of disgusting abuse should be national news and the culprit should face heavy charges. The assertion by Deb that if the vote was a Mccain vote it would be scandal is silly. It’s a scandal already. Way to dump more partisan paranoia onto a topic we could all agree on for once.

  • Heads should definitely roll (in a figurative sense.)

  • JD

    USA – “lay off JD”

    lol. Well you got your wish. I recieved my pink slip this week and as of November 1st I will be apart of the unemployed. 🙂

    They are sending the group overseas.

  • EricF

    they need to pass a law where anyone caught committing voter fraud or voter registration fraud they will lose their voting rights for EVER. thats the only way this crap will stop.

  • Not sure about forever, but I agree they should lose their voting rights.

  • incredible gall from the person election official who did this. there should be a non-partisan inquiry into this– and if everything stands to be true, the official should be barred from this line of work- heavily slapped by the courts.

    what a disgusting act…

  • Pats

    Can someone shed light on two articles published by CNN about:
    Palin’s Pro-America comment on Thursday night in Greensboro, North Carolina.
    Official Palin fired seeks hearing to clear name. The official in question is Walter Monegan.
    A different report could give readers a better understanding.

  • Deb

    If ACORN was backing McCain instead of Obama and all of this was going on for McCain Pelosi would have had an investigation started. The same way she should have an ethics committee looking into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But because it is all benefitting Democrats she will never even bring it up. So much for being a rep for the people.

  • Babs

    Michael, it wasn’t an election official who changed the vote. It was an aide from the center who brought the 6 special needs voters (without permission) to the poll to vote. They went into the booth with them to assist them, and assisted themselves instead.

    The bad part of all this is it’s being swept under the rug. As of now, this person still has not been fired or arrested. And there’s no followup in the local media.

  • Pats

    Please make noise about ACORN to cover McCain/Palin’s deeds. The world is not so narrow minded to be easily baffled.

  • I’m still trying to figure out how mentally challenged this guy is. He seems to be rather lucid in all that’s going on around him, so why couldn’t he cast his own vote?

    Mentally Challenged For McCain – now there’s a bumper sticker.

  • Babs

    He’s very high functioning, pudding, I’ve met him. He has some degree of physical handicap as well (as much if not more so than his mental handicap), and marking his ballot wouldn’t be easy physically. We use paper ballots for early and absentee voting here, so he needed assistance.

    I’ll ignore the last swipe. It’s not funny.

  • nicole

    can i say my aunt personaly knows the man and he is very knowing of what was going on… our government is discusting and needs to set back to what we founded it on.. making things better!

  • Babs

    Here’s an update on the investigation by the Ga. Secretary of State’s office:

    http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?s=9208689

  • md

    similar incident i was told i could go to polls vote late when i got there was told i could not vote till next year
    my personal info was taken and 3 months later i have yet to get voters registration card