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Maine Repeal of Mental Illness Voting Restrictions Amendment, Question 5 (2000)

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Maine Question 5, also known as the Allow Voting by People under Guardianship for Mental illness Act, was on the November 7, 2000 election ballot in Maine. It was defeated, with 40% of voters in favor.

The amendment was legislatively-referred to the ballot by the Maine Legislature as a prospective amendment to the Maine Constitution.

Maine voters rejected a similar measure, Maine Repeal Mental Illness Provision (1997), three years earlier.

Election results

Question 5
Defeatedd No379,96460.25%
Yes 250,729 39.75%

Text of measure

The language that appeared on the ballot:

This proposal would authorize an amendment to the Constitution of Maine to remove the current prohibition on voting by persons who are under guardianship for reasons of mental illness. To qualify to vote in Maine, a person needs to be at least 18 years of age, to be a citizen of the United States, and to have an established residence in this state. If ratified, this amendment would remove the only restriction to voting that goes beyond these basic qualifications.

Judicial nullification

After Mainers chose not to remove from their constitution, in 1997 and 2000, the provision that disqualified all persons under guardianship for reasons of mental illness from voting, the Disability Rights Center of Maine filed a lawsuit in federal court in Maine on behalf of three individuals who were under guardianship because of mental illness challenging the constitutionality of the relevant part of the Maine Constitution. In federal court, the provision in the constitution was found to violate both the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The court determined that the constitutional provision that forbade people who were mentally ill and under guardianship from voting unfairly (and unconstitutionally) targeted "a subset of mentally ill citizens based on a stereotype rather than any actual, relevant incapacity."[1]

See also


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