With the Fall elections approaching, I thought it would be a good time to address voting rights of people under guardianship and/or conservatorship in Minnesota.
Can a person that is under guardianship and/or conservatorship in Minnesota vote?
Yes. As long as the Court has not restricted the right to vote of someone under guardianship, that person may do so. See Minn. Stat. 524.5-313(c )(8)
Can a person that is under guardianship and/or conservatorship in Minnesota have the assistance of someone else in voting?
Yes. You can bring your guardian, a family member, a friend or neighbor to help you vote. They can go in the booth with you and help you fill out your ballot. There is even something called “Curbside Voting”, for people who can’t easily get out of their vehicle but want to vote. Here is what the Minnesota Secretary of State says about helping someone vote and curbside voting.
When does a Court restrict the right of someone under guardianship to vote?
Courts typically only restrict a person’s right to vote in extreme circumstances. Usually the person has to be severely impaired, so that if they were given information about two candidates, they could not understand the difference and pick one. In some counties (Hennepin), the Court will have the petitioner address the ability of the respondent to vote at the hearing on the petition for guardianship. If the Court determines that a person does not have the capacity to exercise his/her voting rights, the Court will remove that right. When the Court does remove the right of someone to vote, the Court sends that person’s name to the Secretary of State’s office and the person is removed from the list of eligible voters.