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MrGrimm888's avatar

Should American voters have to pass a test to vote? (Details )

Asked by MrGrimm888 (18655points) November 13th, 2016

Much has been made of Trump and his qualifications. Rightly so, but the qualifications are pretty much as low as it gets.

@NerdyKeith had a thread about the presidential candidate’s stipulations.

What about voters?

You lose your right to vote if you go to prison. I assume that the government doubts your judgement , and that’s why you lose your vote.

Why shouldn’t a voter be expected to pass a test about the candidates, and /or how the government works, world issues, agendas of each candidate etc.

I ask because I have a strong feeling that many voters were ill informed (on both sides.)

If they wanted to vote, they would be forced to be aware of what they were voting for /against.

You have to sign waivers to make sure you’re aware of your rights,and that of others in most large scale business transactions, like renting/buying a car, buying/renting a home, renting a damn kayak.

Electing the leader of the most powerful, important nation in the world requires only that you haven’t died, or been incarcerated by 18….


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40 Answers

MrGrimm888's avatar

Obviously, the test would have to be done in a way that wasn’t biased…

Sneki95's avatar

No, that is ridiculous.

Get over yourself and accept the fact that your preffered candidate didn’t win.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Why is it ridiculous?

I didn’t have a preference. Didn’t vote. Won’t probably vote ever.

Seek's avatar

No. We need more people voting, not fewer.

You, the non-voter, are the problem. All 46% of you. Not those of us who bothered to participate.

Sneki95's avatar

If you didn’t vote, why the hell do you complain?

And it is ridiculous on several levels. If you want a democracy, it means every citizen over 18 has the right to vote (unless mentally ill, so they can’t decide on their own).
Your statement also implies prisoners are too stupid to know
who to vote for, which is ignorant and kinda offensive. Breaking the law doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it means you’re breaking the law.
If you want to live in a place where only the elite decides the future of it, don’t cry for democracy and free country.

jca's avatar

It will never happen. Who will determine what is on the test and how hard the test is?

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s the bias part that you can’t get around, for bias is what all tests are about. And these days, you’re not going to get anywhere with any proposal penalizing ignorance.

cinnamonk's avatar

@MrGrimm888 yeah, we’ve done that before. It’s been historically proven to be a really bad idea.

cinnamonk's avatar

Thing is, even if you know nothing about a candidate’s platform, you are still very likely to have an opinion about them, and it’s people’s opinions and feelings rather than facts and reality that drive their voting choices.

To the millions of Americans who couldn’t vote for Hillary due to their visceral revulsion to her, but who would have voted for Bernie Sanders if given the opportunity, it literally didn’t matter that she and Bernie voted the same way on legislation 93 percent of the time.

If there’s one thing this election has taught me, it’s that, despite what I’ve been told all my life, men are just as emotional and irrational as women are.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Sneki95 . My statement didn’t imply prisoners were stupid. That was my inference of why the government strips them of their voting rights.

Several jellies mentioned seeing obviously mentally handicapped people at voting booths. (FYI )

@Seek . I respect your decision to vote, and further your intentions of teaching your child about how government works. I certainly don’t consider you a uninformed voter.
You don’t have to respect my position.

Do those who voted simply to keep a woman out of office ,or those who voted with little to no knowledge of the candidates, deserve more respect than the 46% of us who were in protest, or didn’t have interest in either candidate because they actually were informed?

Not voting is a form of protest. It is my right as a US citizen to protest. So , absolutely I can complain whether or not I voted.

I made a thread once ‘should voting be mandatory? ’

Most jellies opined NO. Now they’re mad because 46% didn’t vote. And the outcome probably would have been different if those 46% did.

If voting were mandatory, I would have voted Democrat for everything. Most people I know that didn’t vote , would have followed suit.

Obviously, I don’t speak for all non voters. (Disclaimer )

cinnamonk's avatar

@MrGrimm888 “Not voting is a form of protest”

no, it isn’t.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Sure it is. When almost half of a country’s voters don’t show up, it should be an embarrassing tell.

The US government should be looking at that number as a failure on their part. Cause for change.

cinnamonk's avatar

@MrGrimm888 the only ones who non-voters have embarrassed by not voting are themselves.

Seek's avatar

You assume that anyone would be surprised that Americans are simply too lazy to vote.

If your choice is just as easily brushed off as laziness or disinterest, you’re not effectively communicating your message.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow. Non voters cutting of their noses to spite their face.

kritiper's avatar

Yes. Either have a college degree, pass a IQ test, or pass a test on current events.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How does one “fail” an IQ test? LOL!

MrGrimm888's avatar

As is the case with any protest, it can be interpreted by the observers.

To say that half the country was lazy. That’s far off scale. The candidates did not inspire a following of but only half the voters combined.

I’m pretty sure most Americans would love a good president. But 46% didn’t think either was worth their time.

The candidates both carried heavy flaws. But both were voted for.

@AnonymousAccount8 .By your logic, If you threw a party ,and only half your guests show up, it’s THEIR fault. Could it be that they didn’t want to go to your party because it has become a uninviting party? Take some responsibility for not throwing an appealing party. That large of a deficiency points to systematic failure.

Clearly there are a large number of Americans who chose not to take part in this crap. Again, ALMOST HALF OF ALL POSSIBLE VOTERS. That’s a HUGE number.

Non voters had a GREAT turn out. 46%. Even if their reasons were all different.

Non voters played a huge role in this election, by not taking part.

cinnamonk's avatar

@MrGrimm888 whether you vote or not, one way or the other, one of the candidates is going to become president. You may only get one vote, but so does everybody else, and voting is the only means we have to effect the outcome of the election.

Your analogy of the party doesn’t make any sense here.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^As I’ve already explained, not voting had a huge collective effect on the election.

Voting is meant to give the people an illusion of power.

The votes don’t really count.

Both candidates are usually having their strings pulled by the same hands.

Voting was a good thing. Now,it’s used to control the population. As long as the people think they have a voice, they will play along.

Plus. With the Electoral College in place, the majority doesn’t even win.

cinnamonk's avatar

All you’re doing by not voting is passing on the responsibility of electing the leader of the free world to someone else.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Essentially yes. This time we have to sacrifice heavily, in order to get change faster. But the responsibility will fall on the people 4 years from now. And indeed on the government to provide better prospects.

Like I said. Trump’s reign will be like a forest fire. When it’s over, new things will happen.

josie's avatar

It was stuff like your premise that I believe led to the Voting Rights Act.

Seek's avatar

Again, you can say whatever you want, but non-voters are indistinguishable in their reason from one another.

Simply not voting provides no information.

Were they unable to vote due to accident or illness? Were they prevented from voting by bad poll workers? Did they opt out in protest? Did they not feel like it? Were they not able to find their polling place? Did their ballot get lost in the mail? Were they unable to afford a new ID? Did they move to a new state too late to update their registration in time for the election?

No one knows. It’s just an empty ballot.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

You lose your right to vote if you go to prison. I assume that the government doubts your judgement , and that’s why you lose your vote.
What state is that? I know at least three people who did hard time but were not on parole or probation and they were registered to vote.

Why shouldn’t a voter be expected to pass a test about the candidates, and /or how the government works, world issues, agendas of each candidate etc.
The party of Twiddle Dee will see it as a ploy of the party of Twiddle Dumb, or certainly an advantage to their voters which might be more informed or better educated; they will see it as some nefarious gimmick to keep Dems from the polls, a de facto modern day Jim Crow law installation.

The low, low bar is a hallmark of American voting; be over age X and have a pulse. I suppose it is the campaigns that are supposed to educate the public on the candidates, but until there is real campaign reform that will likely not happen.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This explains convicted felon voting rights. Generally they get restored after two years.

cinnamonk's avatar

@Dutchess_III it seems so wrong to me to deny felons who’ve served their time their right to vote. They still have to live in this country like the rest of us.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Yeah. Plus, as you say, they ‘served their time.’

@Seek . A 46 % non turn out suggests far more than multiple odd scenarios for absence. It’s as plane as day, people voluntarily didn’t vote. Do you think the government thought half the voters got a flat tire? Of course not…

If only 10% didn’t vote, then we could discuss variables such as that.

This was a crystal clear case of disenfranchised voters.

If they come up with a ‘the system is in need of complete overhaul ’ button, I’ll regisrer,and go and hit that button. Until then, the non vote speaks for itself. A huge statement.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They get their rights back @AnonymousAccount8. How soon depends on the state.

Seek's avatar

Eligible Voter turnout hasn’t been higher than 65% since the 1900 election. The last time it hit 60% was 1968.

If you’re trying to get a point across by not voting, no one is listening.

JLeslie's avatar

Absolutely not. Having tests to vote is a shameful part of American history in some of our states.

Although, I’m pretty sure while I was at the polls at least two young, first time voters, were brought in by caregivers to vote for Trump, and I doubt either of those people really understood what they were voting for. They looked and seemed fairly disabled physically and mentally. You ever know though, they might be Mensa locked up in there. I talked to the person in charge of that polling place, and at one point I asked if early voting had been busy and she replied under her breath, “they have been coming out of the woodwork.”

ucme's avatar

Nah, maybe try giving them candidates worth the fucking effort.

kritiper's avatar

If anyone is interested, to pass an IQ test, a minimum number is agreed upon and those that pass must get a score higher than that. DUH!

stanleybmanly's avatar

There would be loud noises about stupid people being deprived of the vote. Unfortunately, you need be neither informed nor sane. The arrival of Trump speaks volumes on the cumulative reasoning of our electorate. Disgust with the status quo may be the fallback motivation for siding with Trump, but the failure to foresee the dystopian future involved with a man so crawling with flaws requires an inexcusable degree of just plain mental laziness.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think candidates should have to pass a simple aptitude test to be eligible to run for office.

kritiper's avatar

@stanleybmanly Of course there would be loud noises about (and from) stupid people but that would be far better than stupid people voting for stupid people who get elected.
@Dutchess III More than just an aptitude test should be required.
Also a test on current events, so voters would have some idea of what is going on politically besides who won the game last night. History would also be a good thing to know before voting so the voter could be aware of the mistakes of the past that might/could be repeated. (Something the tea baggers don’t seem to know anything about.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@kritiper Oh, I agree! But Trump would not have been able to pass a basic aptitude test, much less anything more difficult!

stanleybmanly's avatar

All in all, it’s a risky and probably hopeless business establishing standards for either voters or candidates beyond requirements specified in the Constitution. After all, there are plenty of folks who would just love to see biblical knowledge as a requirement for both public office and access to the ballot box. From the outset it has been hoped that the collective discernment of the voters should serve up competent leadership. While an aberration as severe as Trump certainly runs counter to such hope, we now are compelled to fall back on checks & balances.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Trump would not have passed anything at all to do with the Constitution.

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