This article strikes a very insensitive tone, but also toys with a fairly practical idea. The CNN article poses the questions whether or not stupid people should be allowed to vote. Now they don’t LITERALLY mean preventing stupid people, however you define stupid, from voting. More so it focuses on the fact that there is no basic requirements for voters other than citizenship. Other than that, there is no prerequisite….which seems to be rather alarming. Through voting, citizens elect representatives to make legislative decisions that effect the lives of hundreds of millions. Effectively an individuals vote has enormous influence, although indirectly, so shouldn’t there be more accountability to what is expected of the voters?
The article suggests the idea of a “competence” test. Most priviledges within our society, such as driving, or the desire to practice medicine, require competence tests. So why not voting? Shouldn’t those who wish to vote also take a basic competence test to be given the ability to vote? I believe the most basic of knowledge about the government should be known. Every american should know the three branches of the government and, more importantly, what each respective branches’ responsibilities include. From a practical standpoint, it’s makes perfect sense to implement competency test. Except for ONE slight problem….disenfranchisement.
Voting, as written by the constitution, is considered a RIGHT as opposed to a privilege. Anything that gets in the way of allowing voters the right to vote is a direct violation of our constitutional rights. The test makes sense, but it would be political suicide for anyone to propose such an idea for fear of the backlash. The proposition would be construed as a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise voters. For example, if you make the test in English, what about are sizable spanish speaking population? I assume there are plenty more arguments you can make, but I’ll stop there for brevities sake.
I say let’s just start from scratch and move to an oligarchy. Beauracracy breeds inefficiency. But then again, that’s never gonna happen, so we’ll make do with what we have. So I beg of you, at least read up during the elections so at LEAST you know what you are voting for and why. Because otherwise you are just becoming the “stupid people” that CNN fears….so be smart, and be a competent voter.