New law means mentally ill won't automatically lose voting rights in NV

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New law means mentally ill won't automatically lose voting rights in NV


153 new laws are taking effect in Nevada this week. KUNR's Michelle Bliss reports that under AB108, people adjudicated as mentally incompetent will not automatically lose their right to vote.

The law specifies that a person is not ineligible to vote simply on the grounds that they have been deemed mentally incompetent by a judge. Under the law, a judge must also find that the person lacks the mental capacity to vote because he or she cannot communicate the desire to participate in the voting process. Assemblyman Elliot Anderson of Clark County sponsored the bill and says previously there was no standard for how these situations were handled.

"What this bill seeks to do is to reconcile differences that were being applied in Washoe and Clark County and other state agencies that had conflicting ideas about the procedure this should take. So, what it ensures is that people get their day in court before they lose their right to vote."

Anderson says he sponsored the legislation after hearing that there was confusion and misinformation among various counties and agencies on this issue.

"I have heard some things that scare me. I had heard of state agencies that were saying, 'Well, if you're in a guardianship, that automatically means that you're adjudicated mentally incompetent.' That's not correct."

The law was passed unanimously.