I was on Facebook the day after the election and was shocked at the comments regarding the Electoral College and what it represents. And I remember callers to a radio show going on about how everyone was going to get a job since their candidate had gotten elected. It all made me sad. It all made me think….
Every man and woman, with certain age, citizenship and background restrictions, has the right to vote in America today. Many people: women and blacks especially, fought very hard for this right and they deserve to be heard. But is it good that the man who doesn’t know the branches of our government from the branches of a hemlock has the same voting power as the woman who knows and cares?
Yes, the ignorant man will be governed by the same elected officials as the learned woman, and deserves to choose his representative. But his knowledge of American democracy may be limited to his brother-in-law’s advice or something as crude as party affiliation. That’s OK, I guess. I’m guilty of voting for strangers due to party affiliation myself, but shouldn’t the electorate know how the darn process works?
Poll taxes: Horrible idea. Grandfather clause: Worse. Literacy test: Not fair to poor and uneducated. Knowledge of America’s political structure: Yes, I think so.
Here’s my proposal: When you register to vote you are given a simple card with six questions on it. The six questions come from a list of twenty that you can pick up at the post office or on-line to study. The questions are about who taxes us, who gets to vote for war, what is the Electoral College, etc. They should be very
easy multiple choice questions and arrangements can be made for the illiterate. But if you get more than two wrong, you cannot register that day. You can study and come back the next day or the next day or every day. But until you can prove that you know what your vote amounts to, you should not stand in line ahead of a person who cares.
Is this elitist? Should Americans be allowed to be dumb and happy even in the voting booth? Or should we demand there to be some effort expected for the honor? The idea is that eventually everyone will pass the test and will vote intelligently. Make the test multi-cultural and multi-lingual and multi-socioeconomic. But make it law.
What say ye?