A Roanoke Rapids man said his daughter’s vote shouldn’t count and he’s trying to retrieve it.
Cecil Pearson, of Roanoke Rapids, said his daughter, whom he doesn’t wish to name in order to protect her identity, is 40 years old and has been declared mentally incompetent legally, giving him guardianship over her legal and financial affairs.
This made what he was told Sunday by his daughter all the more surprising.
According to Pearson, his daughter told him the administrator of her residence, the Easter Seals Group Home in Roanoke Rapids, held a meeting and “coached” residents how to vote. Pearson said Friday his daughter was taken to The Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District early voting site and she marked one box on a ballot as she’d been instructed.
Pearson said he’s not looking to politicize the event and will not talk about how his daughter was coached to vote. He’s just angry his daughter, who was registered to vote in 1995 when she obtained a picture identification prior to her being declared incompetent, was allowed to vote at all.
“It’s underhanded,” Pearson said. “It’s unlawful and it’s unjustified.”
North Carolina General Statute 122C-58 does seem to bear out Pearson’s claim his daughter’s vote was illegal. In the statute’s language, adult clients of facilities such as mental health and group homes do retain their civil rights, “unless the exercise of a civil right has been precluded by an unrevoked ajudication of incompetency.”
“It would have been one thing if she was asked to vote,” said Mike Garris, chairman of the Halifax County Republican Party. “But she lacks the mental capacity to ask to vote. She was carried over there in a van, and a ballot was marked.”
Jay DeLancy, executive director of the Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina, said the law allows for any legal guardian or parent of a person declared incompetent to vote to “retrieve” that person’s vote in the event they are permitted to vote. Pearson said he’s already started that process.
The website for the North Carolina Board of Elections confirms Pearson’s daughter voted by early voting Friday.
DeLancy said votes may be retrieved up until the election becomes official, so it’s not too late after Election Day.
As for Pearson, he’s not sure what his next step will be even if he’s successful getting his daughter’s vote retrieved.
“The main thing is to make sure this never happens again,” Pearson said. “I’m approaching all this one bump at a time, but I don’t know what I’m going to do next. To me, this was just uncalled for.”