Dozens of mentally disabled registered in stepped-up efforts by state
BUTNER — Recent stepped-up voter registration efforts at state mental hospitals and facilities for the developmentally disabled resulted in the registration of Wendell Justin Williamson, who in 1995 killed two people in Chapel Hill and was judged not guilty by reason of insanity.
Election records show Williamson, a patient at Central Regional Hospital in Butner, was registered on Sept. 13 as an unaffiliated voter. He cast an absentee ballot that was accepted Oct. 15 by the Granville County Board of Elections.
In a street shootout in January 1995 near the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, Williamson, a law student, used an M-1 rifle to kill two strangers. The not-guilty verdict caused a national furor. He attracted additional headlines this week when a judge granted Williamson unsupervised off-campus privileges.
Efforts to register mental patients and residents of centers for the developmentally disabled have taken place in recent months in several locations around the state.
Employees of the Murdoch Developmental Center, a state-run facility in Butner for the mentally retarded and developmentally disabled, recently registered 36 of the more than 500 residents to vote in what appears to have been a voter registration drive at the facility. In addition, some residents were checked out of the facility and transported to early voting centers to cast votes.
As of Oct. 30, eight of the center’s residents had voted in person at one of the two early voting sites in Granville County, Carolina Journal has learned. One of the sites is at the Creedmoor City Hall, four miles from the Murdoch Center. The residents voted at the early voting locations on five different days.