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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

John Deeth blog: "Idiot Amendment" Could Confuse Voters

Excerpted from this post at John Deeth blog

An amendment on this fall's ballot will more than likely accomplish its short-term goal of modernizing the Iowa Constitution's language. But in the short term it's likely to produce a fair share of insensitive humor, and a fair amount of voter confusion. The so-called "Idiot amendment" would delete the words "idiot" and "insane" from the Constitution's section on voting rights, replacing them with the more PC phrase "mentally incompetent." The amendment is the brainchild of Rep. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, who the mother of a child with a mental disability. ... the amendment has been pushed from the gubernatorial election, with its relatively less turnout, into this year and what's likely to be the highest turnout presidential election ever. And obscure items like this have a history of confusing voters. An amendment removing references to dueling from the Constitution was on the ballot in 1992 at the behest of the late Rep. Clay Spear, who was known to fellow legislators for scouring the law for such anachronisms. It passed overwhelmingly, but not without a lot of confusion.

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