On November 2nd, Kansas voters will have an opportunity to protect the voting rights of people with mental illness.
It’s hard to believe, but the state’s Constitution actually threatens those rights. An arcane provision created 36 years ago gives the Legislature the authority to prevent someone with a mental illness from voting. The only other group targeted? Convicted felons.
When mental health advocates discovered this provision, they were frustrated, upset, confused. Hadn’t we advanced beyond stereotypes that place people with mental illness in the same category as convicted felons? The Legislature listened to their frustration and agreed to put an amendment on the ballot that would correct this 36-year-old mistake.
Today, mental health advocates are engaged in a statewide campaign to pass Amendment No. 2. A “yes” vote would forever protect voting rights for people with mental illness by removing the Constitution’s discriminatory threat.
Our “Yes on 2” campaign is largely word-of-mouth. We’ve attracted media attention. We’re on Facebook. We have a website, www.protectvotingrights.com. But now we’re conducting a targeted mail campaign— thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Health Care Foundation.
Those mailers deliver a simple message: mental illness is a common health problem that can affect anyone at anytime. Roughly 1 in 5 Kansans will experience a mental disorder in a given year. They may be soldiers returning from combat, friends with depression, a neighbor with ADHD. They work. They pay taxes.
And they vote.
Please make sure they never lose that fundamental right. Vote “yes” on 2!
Mental Health Care