Gastonia, NC Correspondent-I’m the guy who’s in favor of intelligence tests for prospective parents, so the idea of some sort of qualifying test for voters holds great allure for me. However, I’m fairly sure it would require a constitutional amendment to make it happen. I am a native-born American citizen, and as such have the right to vote. I’m a fairly smart fellow, but I know a lot of my fellow small-town residents who probably shouldn’t be allowed to bathe without supervision, much less help decide who will be the next leader of our country. However, they have as much right as I do to vote.
I don’t actually hate the way that works. The president we elect governs us all, the mouthbreather and the savant, and so we should all have the right to choose the officeholder. As long as you’re an American citizen without a felony conviction, by all means take your place next to me at the polls. Just please don’t get Cheetos dust all over the levers.
And another note: Under the system proposed by this question, recent immigrants would actually qualify in much larger numbers than average Americans. They’ve had to learn all the history and civics and take the citizenship test.
Owatonna, MN Correspondent-Although it seems elitist and racist, there is merit in requiring all voters to have a minimal amount of awareness of civics, history, politics, and current events before allowing them to vote. If the goal of a democratic society is to be peaceful, prosperous, and free, intelligent votes must be cast by discriminating voters who have some sense of what is best for all citizens, not just a privileged few.
Ignorant voters are more easily swayed by emotions such as fear and greed. Imagine an electorate that does not understand the inner workings of government but is readily swayed by the false promise of money, special treatment, or the oppression of groups of people they may dislike for some reason. The result will be politicians who make exorbitant, expensive promises they may or may not be able to keep, or may not intend to keep. Voters will be swayed by the most persuasive speaker or the promises they like most. The natural devolution of this process is a system of mob rule to the point of politicians using threats and promises of violence or restriction of freedom to opponents in exchange for votes.
Educated voters will, in theory at least, understand that government should have a limited scope and role in its citizens’ lives. They can be trusted to cast votes based on what is best for all in the long run, not just what is best for themselves in the short term.
I do not advocate passing a test as a requirement for someone to cast a vote, but it is the responsibility of all citizens to educate themselves so they can exercise their right to vote in an informed, intelligent manner.
Myrtle Beach, SC Correspondent-I’m going to give this one a resounding: Why Not?!?! Honestly, how could anyone say passing a citizenship test is somehow “racist” or “sexist” or any kind of discrimination.
There is a SERIOUS problem with our country! There are young (20’s) people who couldn’t name Ronald Reagan when they were shown his picture. There are people who can’t name the Vice President, and don’t know who won the Civil War. What’s even more scary is presumably these people are found on a college campus (how?), and THEY CAN VOTE!!! If that doesn’t get your blood boiling and say it’s time for voter reform than I don’t know what will.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-All voters should be required to answer and pass the citizenship test before they are allowed to pull the lever in the voting booth. Knowledge of what our government represents, how it was founded and upon what principles it was built should all be part of a set of requirements that every voter should respect and take responsibility for knowing and retaining before registering to vote. This test should be required of all new voters not just those who have recently applied for citizenship and have gone through the naturalization process.
If potential voters are not citizens of the United States, they should not be allowed to vote until they do become citizens. If they have entered the country illegally and are attempting to vote, they need to be reported and expunged from any voter registration records or any other voting registration documentation, and they should be prosecuted for being in the country illegally.
If potential voters have applied to become citizens of the country and have gone through the naturalization process for citizenship, they should be allowed to vote, but they must prove through voter registration and voter identification at the polls that they have fulfilled the requirements for citizenship.
Knowledge of civics, American history and politics should also be part of acceptance in the voting process as should an overview of the historical and founding documents (Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution and other documents).
Many voters today, whether native or naturalized citizens, have limited knowledge o f basic history, civics and politics, though it seems that more naturalized citizens are grateful for the opportunity to know about their new country as they may have come from repressive countries and dictatorial regimes and understand the freedoms that are given to them through American citizenship.
More voters now than ever are aware of the politics involved with a presidential campaign, but they are somewhat less informed of the actual political process that involves the flow of government, how it is divided by separation of powers and branches of government and what each of these concepts represent.
In order for voters to become more informed, an upsurge in civics and a true rendering of American history through the right instruction, textbooks and founding documents and other historically correct materials must be reintroduced into both public , private and homeschooling curriculums. Parents must also be involved in teaching their children about the true meaning of a free and privileged life in a representative republic. Both older and younger individuals need to be made aware of just how America is defined and what it really means in a world where so many want to erase history and rewrite history to their specifications. Before anyone votes, there should be a clear understanding of those principles.