Endorse the bill to remove the words "idiot" and "insane" from the New Jersey State Constitution sign now

We ask for your endorsement of Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR134), introduced by Senate President Richard J. Codey to eliminate the words idiot and insane from the New Jersey State Constitution. These words, which were adopted in 1789, are offensive to people with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities.

At issue is Article II, Section I, of the constitution regarding elections and voting. Paragraph six of the section states that, "No idiot or insane person shall enjoy the right of suffrage. That language is considered offensive and archaic, and does not recognize the rights of voters with disabilities who want to vote in all elections.

Sen. Codey's proposal to remove the offensive language would be placed on the November statewide ballot after approval by both legislative houses.

The following interpretive statement would be included alongside the ballot question:

"Approval of this amendment concerning the denial of the right to vote would delete the phrase 'idiot or insane person' and replace that phrase with 'person who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to lack the capacity to understand the act of voting' in describing those persons who shall be denied the right to vote."

The phrase 'idiot or insane person' is outdated, vague, offensive to many, and may be subject to misinterpretation. This constitutional amendment acknowledges that individuals with cognitive or emotional disabilities may otherwise be capable of making decisions in the voting booth and that their right of self-determination should be respected and protected in this regard. The amendment only denies the right of suffrage to those individuals determined by a court, on a case-by-case basis, to lack the capacity to understand the act of voting."

Seven other states, including North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, have successfully removed similar discriminatory language from their Constitutions.

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Latest Signatures

  • 07 August 201550. Bruce B
    I have cerebral palsy and was called retarded and idiot by my fellow insensitive students while growing up. Therefore, "idiot" and "insane" have a stigma that should have no place in our constitution.
  • 02 July 201549. Melissa C
    I support this petition
  • 26 February 201548. Tom B
    I support this petition
  • 04 December 201447. Tom B
    Legislation should represent present levels of sophistication
  • 17 October 201446. Peter R
    I support this petition
  • 12 July 201445. Annette S
    I support this petition
  • 11 June 201444. Patricia C
    I support this petition
  • 12 May 201443. David K
    К
  • 08 April 201442. Erin H
    I support this petition
  • 20 February 201441. Gregory M
    I support this petition
  • 09 January 201440. Carol K
    I support this petition
  • 14 June 201339. Sergio P
    I support this petition
  • 10 June 201338. Marion G
    please remove "idiot" and "insane" from NJ State Constitution...Thank you!
  • 19 June 201237. Sheri S
    I support this petition
  • 11 April 201236. Jackie J
    I support this petition
  • 11 February 201235. Ruth O
    I support this petition
  • 23 January 201234. Carmen E
    I support this petition
  • 18 September 201133. Diane S
    I support this petition
  • 23 July 201132. Laura Ak
    I support this petition
  • 13 June 201131. The Newjerseyselfadvocacyp
    We stand in support of amending the NJ Constitution to remove offensive language.
  • 17 May 201130. Nicole P
    I support this petition
  • 26 February 201129. Colleen R
    I support this petition
  • 16 February 201128. Anne L
    I support this petition
  • 15 February 201127. Corinne Boone
    I support this petition
  • 12 February 201126. Paul Ko
    I support this petition
  • 16 September 201025. Deborah F
    My 30 year old son has a developmental disability and we both feel it is very important that he votes. He is an educated voter- we review the candidates (many times) based on info from mailings, TV, newspapers and talk about who he feels would be the best
  • 29 August 201024. John F
    I support this petition

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Information

Penny MorrisonBy:
Transport and infrastructureIn:
Petition target:
New Jersey Citizens and Organizations

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