Minnesota resident Jim Stene voted last November — and thought he was casting his ballot for President Gerald Ford.
“He was exploited, plain and simple. He was exploited,” his father, Alan Stene, charges. “This is a moral and ethical issue.”
Jim Stene, 35, suffers from anoxic encephalopathy, severe brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. He has lived with the condition since 1987, when, as a 12-year-old boy, he jumped into a river to save the life of his drowning sister, Heather.
Stene had spent the last 15 years living in a group home in Brainerd, Minn. He and other residents of the home were taken to the Crow Wing County auditor’s office on Oct. 29 to vote by absentee ballot. Minnesota is among the states that offer early voting by absentee ballot days before Election Day.
In an affidavit, Stene’s father charges that “a voter crime was committed … because James is mentally incompetent and is very coachable.”
He fears his son, and others like him across the country, could be used to swing elections.