Observations on life

Who should have the right to vote?

At one time or another nearly everyone was excluded from voting in the United States except white male property owners.

That list includes women, native Americans, poor white men, Catholics, Jews, slaves, free African-Americans and indirectly in some states, all African-Americans.

20140704-133931-49171659.jpgToday virtually every citizen age 18 and over has the right to vote (in some cities politicians are trying to extend voting to not yet 18 year olds and even non-citizens, including illegal immigrants). We don’t even want to have voters prove who they are?

Have we gone too far?  The quick and likely typical answer is, no, this is a democracy everyone should have the right to vote. Why⁉️

If you want to determine the direction of the nation and all that goes with that, why is it unreasonable to expect something in return? Some commitment, dedication, contribution, effort, knowledge, obligation … call it what you will.

What do we get in return from universal suffrage? Do we get better results,imagebetter candidates, less acrimony among citizens, a better economy, greater social justice?  I would argue that when you have no qualifications to vote you get the opposite. It seems to me that what we have today benefits politicians more than society as a whole.

Recognizing you will never achieve voting by 100% fully informed, knowledgeable, involved citizens, is it wrong to expect better than we have?  Politicians lie and mislead and many (most) people are not equipped to know the difference; the truth. 

I believe that to vote in this Country you should be required to demonstrate some basic knowledge such as:

  • Basic history of the United States
  • Sound understanding of the branches of government and their responsibilities
  • Basic high level understanding of major issues facing society
  • Be able to pass the citizenship test

Would it be unreasonable to apply these requirements at least once before achieving the right to vote?

What are the arguments against any requirement to vote in the United States?


8 replies »

  1. I always wanted to restrict voting to veterans who are paying taxes. On the surface they have had the most skin in the game. No veteran ever wants to go to war. Someone who actually pays taxes understands that the government is taking their money instead of receiving free government money for doing nothing. Like all things dealing with human nature if this was permitted, over time, the veteran voters would make the navy into Carnival Cruise ships for themselves and the military pensions would become outrageous. In the end whatever restrictions you think of, the controlling voting group will continuously vote to benefit themselves and then you will see marches in the streets between the haves (the controlling voters) and the have nots (the non-voters) demanding their entitlements.

    Right now with the dumbing down of voter qualifications, the politicians get what they want which is to retain their power. They do this by buying votes from promising “free” government entitlements.


  2. One would hope that graduates of high school meet the above criteria. That hope, however, remains just that- hope. You wrote ‘Basic high level understanding of major issues facing society’. Basic high level- is that not an oxymoron?


    • I equate basic with a 30,000 foot view in this case. In other words, you don’t need to know all the details about Social Security (which I doubt anyone does), but you should know what the summary paragraph of the Trustees report says.

      Liked by 1 person

      • People are too busy working or watching the latest reality show on TV. They watch the debates (Maybe) listen to the lamestream media and take everything as truth. As long as it fits into their world view.

        My brother in law did not even know that his wife, who has never worked outside the home would get 50% of his Social Security benefit. He is educated and works in the Nuclear Power Industry.
        So you think a test should be given? 99% would fail it.
        That is exactly why we get the elected officials we now have running the government. It gets worse every year, it is called the Dumbing Down of America. The socialists takeover of America is working as planned, since the 1930’s.


  3. Only slightly more than half of eligible voters turn out to vote as it is. If you require a competency test for basic civics too, we could hold the entire national election in a small high school gymnasium.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That could be true, but would we be better off with fewer but better informed voters? More of something does not mean better quality.


  4. The only necessary argument is what are the privileges and responsibilities of each and every citizen (except those denied the right to vote by imprisonment, felony conviction, etc.)? Does it include the duty to vote? Does it include the duty to pay taxes to support the requirements identified in the Constitution (national defense, etc.)?

    Seems like we need a primer, with follow-up, starting at the earliest ages and continuing throughout our lives.

    With those duties come the responsibility to make informed decisions about the welfare of the country – not our individual welfare. From my uninformed perspective, that is the difference – what is the purpose of voting, to support issues and candidates who would meet our needs, or to support issues and candidates who are focused on the welfare of the country as a whole (or, state, or local subdivision as appropriate).


    • You point out the basic flaw of our system … human nature, and the self interest is getting worse by the generation the latest of which has grown up with an incredible entitlement mentality. We cannot afford all the promises we have and yet all we hear is more wants for government “free” stuff that only someone else will pay for.


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