Darlene Pearson is a full grown woman who is intellectually disabled and functionally illiterate. She can only read words like ‘a cat, dog’ or just a few simple words like that. She lives with 5 other women in a group home operated by Easter Seals.
In 1995, a North Carolina court declared Darlene to be incompetent. Even though she was ruled incompetent, North Carolina law allows for Darlene to marry, enter into contracts and vote. So her parents became her legal guardians in 1996 to prevent anyone from taking advantage of their daughter.
However, they believe that the individuals running the group home did take advantage of their daughter to exploit their own personal political views. Unbeknownst to her parents, the group home staff took Darlene to the Division of Motor Vehicle in 1995 to obtain a photo ID. While obtaining the ID, she was also registered to vote, but has never exercised her vote until now.
Without notifying Darlene’s parents, since they are her legal guardians, the group home staff took Darlene and the other women to an early voting station where, with the help of an election staffer, placed her vote for Barack Obama. When her parents found out, they became furious. They claim that since Darlene basically can’t read or mentally function beyond a very young age, that there is no way she could have decided to vote for anyone on her own. Therefore, they allege that someone among the group home staff coerced their daughter to vote for Obama.
Cecil Pearson, Darlene’s father stated:
“My wife and I became her legal guardians in 1996 to prevent exploitation like this. We were not consulted. She is not capable of making an informed choice, and as her guardians we would not have approved it.”
Since then, Cecil has been trying to get the North Carolina Board of Elections to remove his daughter’s name from the voter registry because of her severe disability, her inability to read and make such an important decision. He has also asked the Easter Seals people to explain their action.
When The Daily Caller contacted Easter Seals about Darlene Pearson, they were told by Jeff Smith, the Chief Communications Officer:
- “We are here to support the individual’s rights and we help them exercise their rights as adults. We were providing the support for those individuals based on their community involvement and desires, and in this case their desire was to vote. It’s not my role to refute law or otherwise. They are individuals and they have the same rights. … They were fully in their right to vote.”
Smith also claims that none of their staff did anything to influence Darlene or others on who to vote for, but her parents say that their daughter is incapable of making such a decision, especially when she is not able to read Obama’s name or anything on the ballot. He also informed them that when he talked to Darlene, she told him that she had voted for Obama but could not recall any other person who she voted for or were on the ballot.
First of all, how can any state legally allow a person who has been deemed by the courts to be incompetent to enter into any type of legal contract? Anyone signing a contract who has been drinking or had surgery within the past 24 hours is legally not allowed to sign any legal forms, including entering into a contract. So how can someone who is mentally incompetent and unable to read be allowed to vote?
Secondly, since Darlene’s parents are her legal guardian, the staff at the group home should have informed them that they were taking Darlene to vote, particularly when a presidential election is such as important thing. The Pearson’s have every right to be furious with the home especially when they know their daughter is incapable of knowing who or what to vote for and since it was not the person of their choice.
I believe it is obvious that the staff member involved took advantage of Darlene and acted unprofessionally and illegally in convincing her and the others to vote for Obama because of their own personal political agenda. This typifies the actions of so many members of the Democratic Party who stooped to all sorts of unethical and illegal means to re-elect the most corrupt president in history.
If I were Darlene’s parents, I would be looking at filing charges against the staff member(s) involved and if possible, look for a new group home for their daughter. If I were an executive with Easter Seals, I would have been apologizing profusely for the actions of their staff and would have taken every disciplinary action possible against them.