(Carolina Journal) Cherry Hospital, a state-run adult inpatient psychiatric facility in Goldsboro, welcomed a federally funded nonprofit organization to conduct a voter registration drive of mental patients, likely a violation of state law. Moreover, a memo from a hospital administrator indicated the nonprofit, Disability Rights North Carolina, assisted patients in completing absentee ballots, which may have been illegal as well. North Carolina General Statute 163-226.3 makes it a Class I felony for anyone other than the legal guardian or close relative of a hospital or nursing home patient to apply for an absentee ballot or fill out that ballot on the patient’s behalf. The law was enacted in the 1980s to prevent the political exploitation of elderly and disabled residents of hospitals and nursing homes.
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