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Should We Have Knowledge Tests for Voters?

William Joyce

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I've always liked the idea, but you can imagine who would complain first, not that I'm mentioning AL SHARPTON any AL SHARPTON names AL SHARPTON or anything AL SHARPTON.

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2007/07/09/070709crbo_books_menand

Bryan Caplan, an economist who teaches at George Mason University, thinks that increasing voter participation is a bad thing. He thinks, in fact, that the present level of voter participation—about fifty per cent of the electorate votes in Presidential elections, a much lower percentage than in most democracies, as Americans are frequently reminded—is a bad thing. Caplan is the sort of economist (are there other sorts? there must be) who engages with the views of non-economists in the way a bulldozer would engage with a picket fence if a bulldozer could express glee. The cover illustration of his new book, “The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Politics” (Princeton; $29.95), shows a flock of sheep. This is meant to symbolize the voting public. It looks like a flock of cloned sheep, too.

 

Larkinn

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I've thought about this a lot, and I think the only type of knowledge test I would be ok with would be one that is very basic and is just a test to see whether people know basic facts about the candidates. Anything else is going to discriminate against a cross-section of the country, which will lead to the other sections of the country bringing in policies that only benefit themselves.
 

RetiredGySgt

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I've thought about this a lot, and I think the only type of knowledge test I would be ok with would be one that is very basic and is just a test to see whether people know basic facts about the candidates. Anything else is going to discriminate against a cross-section of the country, which will lead to the other sections of the country bringing in policies that only benefit themselves.

No test at all should be ever administered. If the person is of legal age and legally entitled to vote then they should be able to do so, whether they are idiots or not. Anything else is simply NOT what I believe the spirit of this Country is about, nor what the Constitution should protect.
 

Larkinn

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No test at all should be ever administered. If the person is of legal age and legally entitled to vote then they should be able to do so, whether they are idiots or not. Anything else is simply NOT what I believe the spirit of this Country is about, nor what the Constitution should protect.

I'm not convinced that the "spirit of this country" justifies a system which is putting in politicians as bad as our current crop.
 

RetiredGySgt

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I'm not convinced that the "spirit of this country" justifies a system which is putting in politicians as bad as our current crop.

In other words, you do not like our Democracy at work.

Be as honest as a liberal was on another board i used to post on, he admitted he thought that all important positions in Government dealing with money, social programs and such, any position with real power , should be appointed and that ONLY liberals should be allowed those positions, He of course was fine with Conservatives doing Buisness stuff.

ANY test is a slide down a path you do not want. Whether Conservative, Liberal, or some other bent, the one sure thing is, give Government the power to decide who gets to vote ( other than age and legal status) and someday someone YOU don't agree with will be in a position to change those parameters.
 

Larkinn

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In other words, you do not like our Democracy at work.

Be as honest as a liberal was on another board i used to post on, he admitted he thought that all important positions in Government dealing with money, social programs and such, any position with real power , should be appointed and that ONLY liberals should be allowed those positions, He of course was fine with Conservatives doing Buisness stuff.

ANY test is a slide down a path you do not want. Whether Conservative, Liberal, or some other bent, the one sure thing is, give Government the power to decide who gets to vote ( other than age and legal status) and someday someone YOU don't agree with will be in a position to change those parameters.

You are getting very tiring. I already spelled out the test I thought should be done. It has NOTHING to do with political orientation. If you could pull your head out of your ass and READ what I am saying, you would know that.

No, I don't like our Democracy at work. I believe it is failing, for numerous reasons. It has nothing to do with the fact that it is liberal vs. conservative, it has to do with what politicians base their decisions on, and why. It has to do with the fact that the election cycle is a joke, and we all condemn them for it, but the sad fact is, that if they didn't act like trained monkeys pandering at every whim, they would never get elected.
 

RetiredGySgt

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You are getting very tiring. I already spelled out the test I thought should be done. It has NOTHING to do with political orientation. If you could pull your head out of your ass and READ what I am saying, you would know that.

No, I don't like our Democracy at work. I believe it is failing, for numerous reasons. It has nothing to do with the fact that it is liberal vs. conservative, it has to do with what politicians base their decisions on, and why. It has to do with the fact that the election cycle is a joke, and we all condemn them for it, but the sad fact is, that if they didn't act like trained monkeys pandering at every whim, they would never get elected.

And you continue to say exactly what I said. You do not like our form of Government. Being the good "liberal" you only want smart people to vote, ohh wait, I mean "well informed". If you had bothered to read the Founding Fathers opinion on that VERY subject you would find that they made a decision NOT to do that because of the potential abuse such a system could AND would cause. They did not like the idea of ill informed people voting, but they disliked the tyrany that would occur if the Government was given the power to preform any kind of test for voting.

All you want is informed people voting, thats a nice but foolish thought. Once you grant to the Government the power to decide who votes, it is only a matter of time before the " wrong" sorts will be prevented. Ask blacks from the south how well such tests worked for them prior to the 1960's.
 

Larkinn

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And you continue to say exactly what I said. You do not like our form of Government. Being the good "liberal" you only want smart people to vote, ohh wait, I mean "well informed". If you had bothered to read the Founding Fathers opinion on that VERY subject you would find that they made a decision NOT to do that because of the potential abuse such a system could AND would cause. They did not like the idea of ill informed people voting, but they disliked the tyrany that would occur if the Government was given the power to preform any kind of test for voting.

They didn't dislike it enough to put it in the Constitution that it can't be allowed. And if you think that a test of "basic facts about the candidates" would strongly favor liberals, I wonder why you are a Conservative if you believe your fellow conservatives are really that incredibly stupid.

As I said before, this has NOTHING to do with political affiliation. This has NOTHING to do with liberal vs. conservative.

All you want is informed people voting, thats a nice but foolish thought. Once you grant to the Government the power to decide who votes, it is only a matter of time before the " wrong" sorts will be prevented. Ask blacks from the south how well such tests worked for them prior to the 1960's.

The government already decides who votes.
 

RetiredGySgt

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They didn't dislike it enough to put it in the Constitution that it can't be allowed. And if you think that a test of "basic facts about the candidates" would strongly favor liberals, I wonder why you are a Conservative if you believe your fellow conservatives are really that incredibly stupid.

As I said before, this has NOTHING to do with political affiliation. This has NOTHING to do with liberal vs. conservative.



The government already decides who votes.

Your dislike and anger at me clouds your ability to read and understand. I clearly stated that this has nothing to do with political belief or position. And the US and State Governments have very little say in who votes. They choose age and they choose crimes that exclude citizens from their right to vote.

They used to choose sex but that is gone and IT is in the Constitution. Even slaves got a vote, sort of, the Slave states got a 2/3 vote per every slave.

A "test" for voting is ILLEGAL. Per the US Supreme Court.
 

RetiredGySgt

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The Constitution is clear. All citizens of the age of 18 are to have the right to vote in all Federal elections of any kind. The only exception being if the Individual States exclude anyone then those people no longer count for purpose of determining population for Representation in Congress. ( the only legal exculsions without penalty are criminals and those in rebellion)

Amenment 14 section 2 makes that the law of the land. It is further effected by Supreme Court rulings as to poll taxes and to "intelligence" tests.

Amendment 15 makes it illegal to prevent citizens from voting because of race.

Amendment 19 makes it illegal to prevent citizens from voting because of sex.

Amendment 26 establishes that the voting age is 18.
 

Care4all

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The Constitution is clear. All citizens of the age of 18 are to have the right to vote in all Federal elections of any kind. The only exception being if the Individual States exclude anyone then those people no longer count for purpose of determining population for Representation in Congress. ( the only legal exculsions without penalty are criminals and those in rebellion)

Amenment 14 section 2 makes that the law of the land. It is further effected by Supreme Court rulings as to poll taxes and to "intelligence" tests.

Amendment 15 makes it illegal to prevent citizens from voting because of race.

Amendment 19 makes it illegal to prevent citizens from voting because of sex.

Amendment 26 establishes that the voting age is 18.

I have to spread some reputation around...otherwise you would have gotten a positive rep.
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Yes, I agree with you, NO, there should not be some sort of test in order to vote.

And truely, our bad politicians ARE in office because of the supposedly EDUCATED voters....and all the work they do to get their candidate elected and with the money they give them....

They don't get elected because of the uneducated populous.

Also the idea of giving some citizens MORE power and rights than others, is very elitist, and as retiredsgt pointed out unconstitutional, along with NOT following the "Spirit" of the Law and our Constitution.

This mentality is the kind of mentality that encourages voter fraud and disenfranchisement of voters which has become rampant again the last decade.
 

CSM

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The problem with any sort of test is:

1) who determines what the test is?
2) who grades the test?
3) what metrics are you trying gauge through the test?
4) what is the appeal process (if any)
5) why should there be a test at all?
 

RetiredGySgt

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The problem with any sort of test is:

1) who determines what the test is?
2) who grades the test?
3) what metrics are you trying gauge through the test?
4) what is the appeal process (if any)
5) why should there be a test at all?

I am pretty confident that the Supreme Court would throw out any "test" no matter the supposed parameters. The States can exclude people from voting by passing laws that do so, according to the 14th Amendment, EXCEPT such exclusion can not be for race, sex or age ( the fed set the age). The Supreme Court has ruled that poll taxes are illegal as well as "literacy" tests.

The arbitrary nature of any test would doom it to be thrown out.

The sentiment expressed by Larkinn is really not elitist, BUT it is a dangerous path to go down. There simply is no way to create a "competence" test that could not and would not be abused. And the Courts are clear on that. As well as on a requirement that only FELONIES can be used to meet the requirement of crime for denying one the vote.

I am not sure how a State could enact a restriction on voting within the Parameters of the list of whats not allowed to be used. I guess they could exclude by Religion, though I suspect that would violate the first amendment when used in conjunction with the 14th. Or perhaps a restriction on people that haven't graduated from High school. ( they couldn't use college as that would violate the 18 year old requirement).
 

CSM

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I am pretty confident that the Supreme Court would throw out any "test" no matter the supposed parameters. The States can exclude people from voting by passing laws that do so, according to the 14th Amendment, EXCEPT such exclusion can not be for race, sex or age ( the fed set the age). The Supreme Court has ruled that poll taxes are illegal as well as "literacy" tests.

The arbitrary nature of any test would doom it to be thrown out.

The sentiment expressed by Larkinn is really not elitist, BUT it is a dangerous path to go down. There simply is no way to create a "competence" test that could not and would not be abused. And the Courts are clear on that. As well as on a requirement that only FELONIES can be used to meet the requirement of crime for denying one the vote.

I am not sure how a State could enact a restriction on voting within the Parameters of the list of whats not allowed to be used. I guess they could exclude by Religion, though I suspect that would violate the first amendment when used in conjunction with the 14th. Or perhaps a restriction on people that haven't graduated from High school. ( they couldn't use college as that would violate the 18 year old requirement).

The ACLU would have a field day with any test anyway.
 

uscitizen

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I've always liked the idea, but you can imagine who would complain first, not that I'm mentioning AL SHARPTON any AL SHARPTON names AL SHARPTON or anything AL SHARPTON.

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2007/07/09/070709crbo_books_menand

Bryan Caplan, an economist who teaches at George Mason University, thinks that increasing voter participation is a bad thing. He thinks, in fact, that the present level of voter participation—about fifty per cent of the electorate votes in Presidential elections, a much lower percentage than in most democracies, as Americans are frequently reminded—is a bad thing. Caplan is the sort of economist (are there other sorts? there must be) who engages with the views of non-economists in the way a bulldozer would engage with a picket fence if a bulldozer could express glee. The cover illustration of his new book, “The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Politics” (Princeton; $29.95), shows a flock of sheep. This is meant to symbolize the voting public. It looks like a flock of cloned sheep, too.




LOL, if we had that in place bush could not have voted for himself.
 

Larkinn

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Your dislike and anger at me clouds your ability to read and understand. I clearly stated that this has nothing to do with political belief or position. And the US and State Governments have very little say in who votes. They choose age and they choose crimes that exclude citizens from their right to vote.

Age and crimes...hence they do have a say in it.

They used to choose sex but that is gone and IT is in the Constitution. Even slaves got a vote, sort of, the Slave states got a 2/3 vote per every slave.

Umm, no. Slaves did not get a vote.

A "test" for voting is ILLEGAL. Per the US Supreme Court.
[/quote]

Incorrect. A test that discriminates on the basis of sex/race/etc is illegal.

And truely, our bad politicians ARE in office because of the supposedly EDUCATED voters....and all the work they do to get their candidate elected and with the money they give them....

They don't get elected because of the uneducated populous

I disagree. People vote based on how someone looks, whether they are "presidential" or not, what political party they belong too...I would wager that only a minority vote based on the individuals beliefs. I don't consider that educated.

1) who determines what the test is?
2) who grades the test?
3) what metrics are you trying gauge through the test?
4) what is the appeal process (if any)
5) why should there be a test at all?

The first 4 questions are very different than the last. The first 4 are questions of the logistics of such a test, and the last is about whether there should be one in the first place. I fully acknowledge that the logistics would be very difficult, but I'd like to concentrate on the idea behind it...whether it would be a good thing for our country or not.
 

RetiredGySgt

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Every slave counted as 3/5th a person for purpose of population and represntataion in Congress, while they had no voting rights, they were not excluded from being counted for representation. And the Supreme Court has weighed in several times on "tests" They have said every time that such tests as literacy or poll taxes were inheriently discrimantory since there is no wayto prevent the current "powers" in the state from using such tests or taxes to exclude anyone they choose.

I strongly believe two things would happen with a " knowledge" test. First it would not be able to determine what part of the population would be excluded from voting, thus no way to deduct the numbers for Representation in congress ( which IS required by the 14th Amendment) second , I fail to see any way to make a universal test ( even just in a single state) that would not discriminate against people. Again the powers that be would be free to be as arbitrary as they felt like being, since there is no clear way to establish "general knowledge" of candidates in any meaningful manner. Hell unless the State publishes a list of candidates after the date for filing and in a manner ALL citizens would see, there is no way to even know the NAMES of all the candidates in every election. Much less where each and everyone stood on what ever arbitrary positions the test was to check knowledge on.

This test would be worse than the old literacy test, which was in fact supposedly a test of knowledge and ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
 

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