LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL'S STATEMENTS FOR THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT
1. The meaning and use of guardianship have changed since this language was adopted in the original state constitution in 1890. It is no longer appropriate to deny all persons who have a guardian the right to vote, serve on a jury or hold office.
2. Idaho statutes now allow for findings of incapacity in very specialized areas and the guardianship may be limited to the area of incapacity. In these cases, the person may continue to work, pay taxes and otherwise exercise the duties of citizenship. To deny the right to vote, serve on a jury or hold office is a form of taxation without representation.
3. The right to vote, in particular, is a fundamental right of citizenship. A person with some limited disabilities may require guardianship for some purposes but remain capable of voting. To disenfranchise such a person serves only to further exclude the person from playing a constructive role in society.
4. There are adequate protections against misuse or abuse of the rights in question. Persons who are not able to understand the ballot do not wish or attempt to vote. Election judges also protect against voting abuse. Jury commissions and the courts are able to excuse persons who are not able to serve on a jury. The voters are the ultimate judges of who is qualified to hold elective office. The language in the constitution is obsolete and offensive in view of these protections.
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL'S STATEMENTS AGAINST THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS
1. Persons are generally under guardianship because they have mental limitations. Therefore, they are not capable of making the sound decisions required to vote, serve as a juror or hold public office. People involved in court may not want their cases decided by a juror who is under guardianship.
2. Persons under guardianship may be unduly influenced by their guardian, resulting in distortion of the voting process. One person may actually be given two votes if the guardian directs the actions of someone who is not capable of acting independently.
3. Not all people with limitations are willing or able to acknowledge those limitations. This is why a court procedure is required to determine guardianship. Once a person has been placed under guardianship, it is appropriate that society exercise caution in extending to that person important roles of citizenship.
4. When language that qualifies persons under guardianship from engaging in voting, serving on a jury or holding public office is removed from the constitution, there is no mechanism which identifies such persons to determine their "fitness" to participate in these activities.