Require basic test to vote
I wonder whether it might be better if there was a basic test required before people were allowed to vote. If a basic knowledge of civics and economics was required before people could vote, I don’t think we’d be in the state we are in today. It’s probably unconstitutional, but perhaps we could make an amendment? I mean, do we really want uninformed people voting?
Two articles I read recently got me thinking about this. The first was an opinion piece by Jane Chastain called “We the Ignorant.” In it, she states,
One can only imagine how our founders would feel if they could see our attempts to chase people down, who have demonstrated no interest in the political process, in order to get them to register to vote. That is what was accomplished when Congress passed the motor-voter bill which was signed into law by President Clinton. Motor-voter required that anyone applying for a driver’s license be offered a voter registration form. As a result, we put more politically ignorant people on our voting roles and we have continued to add more each and every year.
It would be unthinkable to give someone a license to drive an automobile without first requiring the applicant to pass a basic driving test. The results would be disastrous. Likewise, it is equally disastrous to register people to vote without making sure they understand the political rules of the road and are otherwise qualified.
The second was a story about a report that found that most college students failed a basic civics test. What do people go to college for, anyway? I agree with the writer’s observation that
…while our nation’s most elite colleges are not imbuing our children with a knowledge of our history and our government, the study makes it clear that those universities are becoming round the clock factories churning out poorly instructed liberals with little civic knowledge and even less faith and less devotion to principles of liberty than those Americans who didn’t go to college.
Incidentally, you can take the test yourself here. It’s scary to think that 71% of those surveyed failed it.
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