New Mexico’s Constitution Says Idiots Cannot Vote: Facts


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New Mexico's Constitution Says Idiots Cannot Vote

Story: 

The New Mexico’s Constitution actually says Idiots Cannot Vote.

Analysis:

According to a ‘surprising’ story shared online quite often, the New Mexico’s Constitution actually says Idiots Cannot Vote. Yes, it is a fact that the constitution of New Mexico says “Idiots” cannot vote, but the wording is mentioned in a different sense as described below.

Below is the contextual paragraph from Article 7, Section 1 of the New Mexico Constitution:

Article VII – Elective Franchise

Sec. 1. [Qualifications of voters; absentee voting; school elections; registration.]

Every citizen of the United States, who is over the age of twenty-one years, and has resided in New Mexico twelve months, in the county ninety days, and in the precinct in which he offers to vote thirty days, next preceding the election, except idiots, insane persons and persons convicted of a felonious or infamous crime unless restored to political rights, shall be qualified to vote at all elections for public officers. The legislature may enact laws providing for absentee voting by qualified electors. All school elections shall be held at different times from other elections.

As suggested above, “Idiots” are not allowed to vote in New Mexico State of United States, but it should be understood, the word idiot – now considered offensive – once had a different meaning related to mental illness or disability. The New Mexico’s state constitution was written back in 1912. Now an idiot, dolt or dullard is a person perceived to be lacking intelligence, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way.

As of this writing, other U.S. states like Kentucky, Ohio and Mississippi too uphold the same idea in their constitutions as “idiots” do not have the right to vote. Notably, “Idiots” were also barred from voting in British parliamentary elections. However, such references are generally considered obsolete and are being considered for review or removal where they appear. For example, the constitution of the state of Arkansas was amended in the general election of 2008 to, among other things, repeal a provision (Article 3, Section 5) which had until its repeal prohibited “idiots or insane persons” from voting. In 2008, Iowa voters passed a measure replacing “idiot, or insane person” in the State’s constitution with “person adjudged mentally incompetent”. In New Mexico too there were some unapproved proposals in 2010 to replace the “idiots” and “insane persons” wordings with “mental incapacity”.

To put it in short, the part of the mention in New Mexico’s Constitution saying “Idiots” cannot vote is not offensive, and in fact refers to people with certain mental illness or disability.

Hoax or Fact:

Partially Fact.

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References:

Constitutional Amendments 2010 – New Mexico Legislative Council Service
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New Mexico’s Constitution Says Idiots Cannot Vote: Facts

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