Very simple, is there any circumstance under which someone should not be allowed to vote?
In my opinion, I think in order to vote one should have to pass a test demonstrating basic knowledge of current events and how politics and government work.
Some people might remember how rigged tests were used as an excuse to deny voting to African Americans and other minorities, however I do not propose anything like that. All tests would not be recorded, it would simply be a part of the ballot and if you do not pass it your vote would not count, or at the very least count for less. That way no one but the machine knows your results and any specific person could not be targeted.
I just feel that someone who lacks an understanding of what they are doing, when doing something as important as participating in government, should not be allowed to do so.
Any opinions, agreements or disagreements?
You probably guessed this was coming, but I think I'll say it anyway. :)
If we just let people govern and be responsible for themselves we wouldn't have to worry about voting. If we had a voluntary government(s), we could let them make up their rules, and if we didn't want to obey them, we wouldn't have to.
You could have the Klan that ruled its members, and as long as they left everybody else (including blacks) alone, they could be as racist as they please. You could have people like the Amish, and they wouldn't get in trouble for ignoring the draft -- there wouldn't be any draft.
There's lots of examples of voluntary governments: organizations, clubs, brotherhoods, religions, and so forth.
But if you're going to have a government based on violence and coercion, then anybody should be allowed to vote. Even if they want Lady Gaga for president. :P
*is surprised "Klan" isn't censored.
Everyone should be allowed to vote regardless of race, age, socioeconomic status, or education. In order to be called a democracy, everyone deserves a chance to help make a decision. It effects everyone. America isn't a democracy, because the government doesn't allow everyone to vote, and even then our votes don't make the final decision regarding who is in charge.
America is not supposed to be a democracy, we are a republic. We are governed by those who are elected by the people and for the people. A democracy is basicly mob-rules.
And for the voting question, I believe that people should have to pass a test to show that they can mentally comprehend what they are doinga dn can make their own desicions. Also education shouldn't matter.
I've considered this before, but there's a couple of big problems.
-You're setting an extremely dangerous precedent. If the machine isn't going to count your vote because you don't know the Bill of Rights, what's to stop the machine ignoring your vote because you picked Person A over Person B?
-Although tests like these may not be intended to discriminate, how something is intended and how it's actually used are two entirely different things. Look at No Child Left Behind, mandatory minimum sentences, the Patriot Act, and so on and so forth. Good intentions don't mean much. Not only could this be used against minorities, it could be concievably used to open up entirely new discrimination patterns based on intelligence.
-Book smarts are not the same as human judgement. Knowing the three branches of government is not the same as knowing if a person is trustworthy, and is not likely to prevent people choosing a candidate for stupid reasons (So and So is a certain religion or has better hair.) Although the population definetely needs to be better educated on government, we aren't asking voters to run the country. Just choose between people who do. Should we bar people from voting if they aren't a good judge of character?
-Are uninformed idiots really wrecking the country by voting? If someone's too lazy to bother getting informed or learning some basic political information, are they even going to bother voting? They don't know what they're doing and have no reason to vote aside from a sense of civic duty- unless they're just trying to spite the rest of society. If the system ain't broke, don't fix it.
Forever-Free is right- America is a republic, and the main authority should be not even our elected officials, but it should be the Constitution. Anyway, deciding who can vote is a very slippery slope. It'd also be nearly impossible to decide what "knowledge" is necessary to vote. As much as I think some people shouldn't be voting, I don't think it's the government's job to decide who can and who can't.
Anyone under 18. The majority of people under 18 don't care, lack the maturity, or lack the responsibility to vote. There are some that are older than 18 and act the same. Taxes don't affect minors. Minors don't pay taxes so why should they get a vote?
o btw, If any have paid attention to this, but in the 2008 election we had the biggest voters turnout ever. with 131.2 million voters. Estimated population of eligible voters is 213,313,508, resulting in a turnout rate of 61.6%, which would be the highest turnout rate since 1968. So basically 38.4% eligible voters didn't vote. shave off 5 to 10 % of those who actually couldn't because of health or work or military service, or something requiring around the clock service. That is still a lot.
Correction on the democracy part. We were concieved as a Republic, BUT because of prior amendments and laws we have become a Democratic Republic. A democracy is where citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect them so dearly. A republic in a common terms is basically a form of government without a monarch where officials are elected to hold office. Hence the democracy. So therefore we are a Democratic Republic.
We are still a republic because of the impossibility of EVERYONE voting on every issue, however the US has further evolved into a more representative democracy as a form of a republic nation.
All in all , I'm sticking with Democratic Republic.
First some definitions:
Politics: the managing of the community, society
polis: the entire society
state: an institution that manages politics for the polis
democracy: where the polis manages politics for itself
Now this doesn't mean that everyone has to vote on everything, it just means that those given charge of descisions don't become a class above the polis.
For example the in ancient athens, the people would elect an archon during emergencies to decide on immediate issues. After 24 hours they were made to step down and could never hold the position again.'
Another example in the Spanish Civil War, anarchist workers took over the region of Catalonia. They also seized the factories, and worked them for the good of society. The workers created a sytem of recallable delagates example:
Workers in a shoe factory need leather, but the leather factory is very far away.
So the factory assembly would vote to say that they needed leather
They then elect a to the regional assembly who is mandated to ONLY request leather from the leather factories.
Any other descisions that they make will have them recalled and a new person will be sent
I think we've all agreed that race, religion, socio-economic, and all other arbitrary barriers should not exist.
Now on to the individual replies :)
Yup :) I disagree on the concept of Anarchy, but that's for another place :P
I respectfully disagree, I think that a democracy should give everyone who understands what they're doing the right to vote.
Let me clarify, when I say a person has to understand the basics of politics and current events, I mean the very basics. They might not have to know what a bicameral legislature is (although they definitely should) but they should at least need to know what a President's job is. If you don't know what you're voting for why should you have the right to vote for it?
Again, I'm not talking about needing a GED or a diploma, I'm talking about being able to pass a test that demonstrates you have some concept of what you're doing by voting.
I pretty much agree with you. :)
We're not talking about a sentient machine that judges you based on your intellectual merit, we're talking about a scantron.
I'm literally just talking about a multiple choice test you take that covers the very basics of what you're doing (i.e. what is the President's job).
"entirely new discrimination patterns based on intelligence", not to be cheeky, but in my opinion, we could use a bit more of this :P
Seriously though, if you think that the President is a Dictator and that WWII is still going on secretly, you shouldn't be able to vote.
I'm not talking about subjective questions here, I'm talking about "Does the President have the right to make new laws without anyone else's consent?", very basic, very objective questions that leave no room for debate and are neutral questions about things you need to know before voting.
I disagree on some of the finer points of your comment, respectfully of course :)
I don't think the constitution should be taken into precedence above the represented officials. The constiution is a centuries' old piece of paper written by people, it is old and certainly not divinely perfect, and it doesn't cover every topic that we deal with in modern life anyways.
I don't think it would be "nearly impossible" to decide what information is necessary for people to vote, just basic information about how the government works and what you're voting for.
Say for instance, anything an elementary schooler would have to know to pass a test on government. The very basics.
The government is (or ideally should) be made "of the people, for the people, and by the people". That's the beauty of a democratic/republic, the people are the government. If anyone is to decide who should participate in the government, it's the government, us.
I agree that age should definitely be a factor, I don't think it's the only thing we should take into account however. And if my idea of a test demonstrating basic knowledge of government would be implemented, I imagine the age limit could be lowered considerably.
After all I'd say there are a lot of smart and mature people under 18 who are probably more qualified to vote than some of the people who are adults. However we still need some kind of screening, with my idea implemented I'd say we could probably lower the age to about 15 or so.
You didn't really answer the original post :/
Thanks for the contribution though! :P
Thanks for all the replies, hope to hear more!
Breece: I dont think that voting matters much. while capitalism is the economic rule democracy is impossible. While the majority of humanity must go to work for private dictators just to eat, freedom is impossible. While tennants live in fear of eviction, liberty is a lie. Capitalism is the enemy of liberty
Ah, you're in the anarchist boat with JunieSparrow, I forgot :P
Welp, 'nother time 'nother thread I suppose :)
Breece: If you're going that basic, I don't really see the point. How does someone who doesn't know what the president is know what voting is? I really don't think that there's a huge problem of people who don't have a clue going to vote. Do they accidentally trip and fall into the voting booths? Sure, people are stupid (and that can be scary), but people who are too stupid too understand basic government aren't likely to understand why it's important to participate in it. (There's plenty of smart people who don't even understand that.)
I think you'd be surprised actually, and it's not necessarily that they have no concept of what the President is, but I can gurantee you a lot of people have misconceptions about what his job is.
And you know, not just about the President, but about stuff like "what kind of government does America have?" and "How many branches of government are there?", you know, basic knowledge of how the government works.
I think we'd all be surprised at the amount of people who don't know such basic things and yet still vote, and that's what scares me.
Also, in the recent elections with President Obama and his opponents, some people voted entirely out of racism (there were racists on both sides btw) and literally knew next to nothing about either candidate or even basic political knowledge. This might weed out some of that as well.
I just think it'd be a good precaution to have.
That's starting to cross the line into preventing people from voting because you don't like their beliefs.
Also, you can't automatically equate racism with stupidity. If all racists were imbeciles they wouldn't have persisted as long as they did. They're a little twisted, but not total idiots, and certainly not incapable of learning the branches of government. (If they hate Obama enough to go vote against him, why not take a moment to memorize a few basic facts?)
In fact, the more I think about it, the more technical problems occur to me. If someone knows they're going to be tested when they go vote, what's to stop them from memorizing the test answers independently of the questions? They won't have to know or understand the concepts. They'd just have to know the words "executive, legislative, judicial" without being able to define any of them. The only way to be sure they really know what they're talking about is a more complex and detailed test (short answers instead of multiple choice). I know that's not what you're proposing- it would get too complex too quickly.
Also, I'm standing by my argument earlier that human judgement and civic knowledge are not the same.
breece: Junie is not anarchist, she is a private state capitalist. She would keep the state, but call it private property. Anarchism is anti statist socialism.
All right. Challenge accepted.
Never saw this reply, ah well, now I'm getting to it at least.
I don't see how it bars people from voting based on belief, could you elaborate?
I'm not equating racism with stupidity, I'm saying there's a correlation :P
The test questions or answers wouldn't be in the same order on every test, we don't even do that in most schools these days -_-. They would have to memorize the actual facts themselves, which is the point. Memorizing those little facts might help them a little bit, and if they're willing to do that much work then chances are they are not entirely uneducated about what they're doing.
I see you're whole argument about people memorizing the answers to be the solution actually, that's exactly what I want them to do :) Not memorize the answers like "a, b, d, a, c", like I said they would be in randomized orders, but they would have to memorize "Three branches of government, President's head of the executive branch, the President is the Chief of the Military, etc.", they'd have to memorize little facts, which would help them and prove that they're willing to work for the right to vote.
I'm standing by argument that good judgement requires knowledge of what needs to be judged :P
Well, she doesn't like government... close enough... *grumbles*
I already replied to your thread, waiting for a response *cough* SURRENDER NOW AND YOUR LIFE WILL BE SPARED *cough*
You're denying them the vote because they're voting based on racism. In essence, you are refusing to allow them to vote because you disagree with their belief (that minorities are inferior). Admittedly, their belief is wrong and stupid, but you can't ban people from voting because you disagree. The Supreme Court has ruled that you can't block political speech just because you disagree with it- and I think most will agree that the right to vote is just as (if not more) important than political free speech. (Also, if you only let people vote if they agree with you, you're defeating the purpose of a vote.)