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Would you be ok with a basic test of simple political understanding as a prerequisite for voting? It seems that we have so many people (on both ends of the spectrum) who don't actually know the issues or what they're voting for - they just vote along regional, racial, family or other lines that aren't based on policy. The test would have to be simple enough that anyone of reasonable intellect could prepare for it by reading up on some basic issues. With access to public libraries, access shouldn't be an issue (if you can get to the polls on Election Day, you can get to the library to read up on the topics if you don't have Internet access).
I'm sure some people will be vehemently opposed, but I think this idea could do a world of good for our country. Voters who know the issues may still ignore what they read (or are told verbally in the event that they cannot read), but you could at least have an informed voting public and the results would be more valid IMO. This would be a program that would actually be very worthy of our tax dollars.
Would never work or stand
I can see why it wouldn't stand, but why wouldn't it work?
No. It is their right to vote for whoever they want. They can base their votes on the things that you mentioned if they want. While I think its stupid to do that, it is their right to do so. Its what makes us Americas. The right to vote. Start taking away rights, where do you stop?
Of course it's their right and I'm not proposing taking that away. They would still be entitled to make whatever choice they pleased based on whatever logic they choose. But we already have other requirements in order to vote such as citizenship, registering, etc.
I don't see why it's too much of an infringement of rights to simply require people to educate themselves on the basic issues - they can still ignore it if they want.
This post was edited by FortWorthTide 16 months ago
Because informed voters elect terrible candidates too.
People voting along regional, family, racial lines is just a more specific way of saying people vote for what they perceive to be in their best interest. More educated voters will still vote for who/what they believe will enefit them the most.
But that's absurd. It's letting everyone vote...just because. It is bad for the country, period. Uniformed people voting is just bad for the country...there is no way around that.
If they would require people to pass a test in order to vote, it is no longer a right. Citizenship is a given. If you don't live here, why shouod you vote? Anyone can register to vote, so that also doesn't infringe on the right to vote.
Agree completely. But what's wrong with requiring someone to know what a tax actually is and how it will affect them and others before they vote for or against one (just an example on the local level).
This doesn't make sense.
Im all for requiring voter identification though
Those who aren't born here have to pass tests to earn their citizenship and no one has a problem with that. Why can't we expect the same of voters? And I'm talking a VERY simple test - not even Political Science 101 level.
I'd be fine with that approach. How do you handle dropouts who are 18 though? Also, I honestly don't know the answer to this question, but can someone with Downs Syndrome vote? If so, how do you handle that?
How simple is "simple"? Give me a couple sample questions.
I agree in principle, but in practice it's not realistic. Representative democracies are built upon the average citizen not having to be informed. They elect people they think know better than them.
What about felons? We don't let them vote because we don't want their type making decisions that could effect the rest of us. Why not the same for ignorant people? I mean if someone doesn't know who the VP is, or what is or isn't in the Constitution, or what separates it from the Dec. of Independence, or basic economics...is that someone we really want making decisions?
That's tough - it would require a lot of hard work and tweaking before getting to a fair end result, but off the top of my head...
"How many branches of government are there and what are they called" (you could even make it multiple choice)
"Which branch passes laws?"
"What is a veto?"
"What is an income tax / how do tax brackets work?" (This one would take some work and would definitely have to be multiple choice)
Some of those might sound awful to me in an hour, but you put me on the spot.
Yeah, as in they shouldn't be allowed to vote.
I think that would be a good approach. You'd have to be sure that the courses were of good quality and you couldn't advance without passing them, but that's an education system issue that goes beyond this topic. The only thing that concerns me about the in school approach is how that impacts the 60 year old for whom high school was decades ago and issues have changed significantly since that time.
some news was on at the gym yesterday with Biden speaking in Selma celebrating the civil rights movement.
Right afterwards some woman was on there talking about how it's been 50 years and they're still fighting for equal rights (I think specifically voting rights).
Wtf was she talking about?
Are you assuming these would be multiple choice?
The problem I have with these tests is threefold: 1) They're getting dangerously close to straight literacy tests, 2) none of the questions I can think of really test political understanding, because once you get into any analysis, you start having to accept subjective, viewpoint-based answers, and 3) this does discriminate against the less intelligent/mentally disabled.
It's the illusory fight the have. There really is no end to it apparently, no matter what we do, no matter how far we come, we will always be racist.
That's the kind of stuff we have to change. We can't establish such a high standard that only the affluent/intelligent can vote, but we need to have some mechanism for educating the voters.
Major case before the SC this week about the Voting Rights Act.
Yea I saw that, but thought it had to do with districts for local elections, not any actual voting rights.
Some argue that the "voter ID" laws are burdensome on minorities in particular. But you're correct, gerrymandering has always been a problem and will continue to be so.
That's why this is such a tough issue. There are several important points that you bring up.
Disabled people - who should be able to vote? Asbergers people would certainly qualify because they are often very intelligent, but what about Downs Syndrome? You have to be physically 18 to vote, but what if mentally you are 5 years old?
Literacy - this is really tough because basic literacy is required to read props that are up for voting, instructions, even the names of candidates. Where is the line?
Viewpoint based questions - I actually think this is the easiest to deal with. You just test the facts. What is the fair tax? Not whether it's right or wrong, just what is it? It's a flat rate for everyone (with certain exceptions). That's just a fact. A progressive rate system is just a definition from a textbook. Don't put any slant on the information or questions. Just see if someone understands how our tax system works (higher earners pay a higher stated rate, etc).
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