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.”

(12) comments


If the leader of the group home got these residents together, coached them on who to vote, and provided transportation to the water department, this NEEDS to be investigated. It is obvious that people are being coached and transported. What a shame!!


Sounds like to me that the Daddy is mad because she didn't vote for his candidate. Had she voted for his candidate, I'm 100% sure we would not see him ratting on his own daughter. Just shameful!!


No what is shameful is that a local worker not the rep knows the real truth. It does not matter who she voted for. She was not capable of voting and should have never been taken to the polls. It is common sense people. I am sure the father may be worried what else his daughter is being talked into doing without his knowledge. I am sure he would not upset his daughters living arrangements and cause trouble for her in her safe enviroment if he did not feel something was wrong. You put your trust in caregivers and then they do something like this underhanded. It is just wrong. It is no different than elder trust being violated. He is not ratting on his daughter he wants what is right for her. If he wanted her to vote for his candidate he would have taken her himself.


Who the child voted for IS NOT of interest. Point in fact is that in 1996 the child was declared incompetent and was not elegible to vote period. Check your law and you will see " A person judged "mentally incompetent" by a court is disqualified from voting, unless the finding is reversed"
FACT: court order IS STILL in effect. What happened here should not have happened if staff knew their occupants medical/personal file.


I'm Mr. Pearson's other daughter. Sounds to me like people need to quit judging my dad if they don't know the details. For your information my dad is not in either party(democrat, republican). My sister has the mind of a 7 year old in a 40 year old body. That would be like taking a 7 year old child to vote WHICH IS NOT LEGAL!!! How would you feel if someone took your mentally incompetent child to vote and maybe for the person you did not like. Then on top of that, take her without letting my parents know, that would also be like taking someone's 7 year old child out without permission. Put yourself in someone else's shoes before you go judging someone for their decisions.


[sad]This should not have happened.If it were checked into well, we may find out that this is and has been done many times in the past. The "who" she voted for or against is not the question. I agree with the father, what other things are mentally impaired persons coaxed to do?


I would like to give my thoughts on the matter as I do have a child that is 30 yrs old and has the understanding of a 13 yr old.
HOWEVER, he does have his own thoughts about what he wants and what he thinks is right or wrong. My child is in a Group Home and is declared incompetent. Incompetent does not mean that they can not make a choice or have the right to vote. It means that I have guardianship to make the choice for my child's care, custody, and financial decisions. It does not mean that I can tell them who to vote for, what they want to eat for dinner chicken or steak, what they want to do for the day, either go fishing or to the movies. I applaud the group home for making sure their individuals exercise the right to vote. Just because they can't make some choices on their own does not mean in any way that they can't make others. When people are talking about it being Illegal for this group home to take the person to vote it would be illegal if the group home did not allow this person to vote as it is one of their many right’s that they have earned to exercise. People think that individual's with a mental disability or a developmental disability don't have the same rights as everybody else I am here to tell you that they do. We have worked extremely hard to make sure that their rights are enforced and have pushed for this to happen. Again, being a parent and learning the hard way about thinking that my child was not able to get a job because of his disability and being proved wrong ( for the good) because the group home and the case manager listened to him and not me, my child is now a productive member of society paying his taxes and voting for whoever he wants. He still lives in a Group Home, is still considered incompetent, and can still make choices to the best of his ability even if he only votes because he liked the name of one of the candidates dog's - (which is what he did this year) because it was his right to do so. People have picked a president for far worse reasons as we all know! People should not put limitations on others, disability or not. So when people are stating she has the mind of a 7 year old even a 7 year old can you tell you what she wants to dress like, what her favorite color is, if it is hot or cold outside, as well as who she want’s to vote for even if it was because she liked the way he laughed. She made a choice based on her ability. I am just sad to see a parent putting limitations on their child and not encouraging her to be as independent as possible.


I understand your opinions and I'm glad your son can make those choices. That's wonderful but, just like us, they are all different. They all have different physical and mental capacities, as do all of us. Your son may be able to make more and better decisions than my sister and Thank the Good Lord for that. My sister has alot more mental disabilities than just mental incompetence and the mind of a 7 year old. She is also mentally retarded and some other mental disabilities. There are alot of things going on that have not been printed in the paper. That's why I say no one needs to judge my dad when they do not know all the details. Certain things have not been brought out for the protection of my sister. If anyone was going to take my sister to vote, it should have been one of my parents or at least a courtesy call, considering my parents have legal guardianship of her. All of this could have been avoided with one phone call. My family is not trying to limit my sister in her decisions or how she thinks or what she does. She can make certain decisions for herself. If she came to us and wanted to buy a house or a car, would we ler her, NO. Take for example, 3 80 year olds. One is in goo health, drives, in their right mind. If they want to vote, they should. Another is sometimes confused and not in good health and they want to vote, they should. Yet another is in terrible physical and mental health, maybe they have dementia really bad. They want to vote but they don't know who they are or who is even running for office. Should they vote, NO. Another example. My 8 year old came home last week and they voted in class. I let my child make some decisions for himself but some decisions I'm not going to let him make. I asked him who he would vote for, he told me. I asked him why, he said he did not know, that's who they told him to vote for. He does not know what they stand for, neither did my sister. They could have made up a name and my son or sister would have voted for that person. My 14 year old, however, knows more of what's going on and could have made a better decision. All I ask is for people not to judge my family and attack them when you don't know the details.




Mr Pearson was co-founder (along with his wife) of "Smiles" a non-prifit organization geared at providing activities for all hanicapped individuals regardless of age, religion or national origin on June 1, 1987. Does this sound like a man who has a political agenda regarding this matter? This sounds like someone who is an advocate for the handicapped and is speaking out about an illegal matter involving his 'legally declared incomptent" child. For someone to think a person with the mentality of a seven year be allowed to vote in any election "because he likes a candidate's dog" is absurd! An individual who cannot make legal decions regardng themselves, certainly cannot make informed decisions involving anything else, and to "coach" them toward a decisions is WRONG!


Your 30 year old can no doubt count money, my daughter cannot. Your son no doubt can read and write, my daughter cannot. Your son knows the difference between a $1 dollar bill and a $10 dollar bill, my daughter does not. You son recognises someone elses name (in print) other than his own, my daughter does not. Your son may be able to walk across the street or down the block and find his way back, my daughter cannot. Would you trust you son alone at anytime? No way would I. You say your son has the mentality of a 13 year old, my daughter has the mentality of a 6 year old ( 7 years makes a BIG difference). I commend you for having a functional daughter, you are a very fortunate mother! I wish I were that lucky, but I'm not! So until something else to lean on comes along I have no choice but to depend on the court order that I have, and it is my FULL intent to get the laws changed. If you want your son to vote without your concent you would still have that option. However, until someone can convince me that this U S of A can be run on the knowlege of a 7 (or 13) year old I must stand firm in my actions.


As the mother of a 21 year old daughter who is disabled and at this point has not been declared incompentent, I would never take her to vote. She has the mind of a 5 to 6 year old. She can feed, dress and do basic task. It's apalling to think that a group home would do that. Another reason why I have people I can trust come to my house and take care of her. So to the mother who allows her son to vote, that's her choice. She knows her child and as long as he's not being coached and allowed to choose who he wants, thats great. I wish my daughter could exercise that right. I have to say that to allow someone to vote because they liked the dog is a little ridiculous. The election is a little more important than liking a dog. To me, that's not making an informed decision based on the USA's issues. If that's the case then my daughter could vote, but I think voting is more important than that. With that said, it's the choice of the parents who know their children best. God bless each and every parent who has a special needs child. It's a struggle everyday but a struggle I'm glad to have. My daughter is my blessing from above.

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