Post # 1
Ok… this is political thread 1/2. I wanted to break these two questions into two posts, that’s why I have two weird political polls back to back. I’ve been doing some reading and debating with friends and it’s really piqued my curiosity about popular opinions on these issues. I find discussion on here usually pretty chill and well-thought out so I wanted to pose these ideas to my fellow bees.
Imagine the following scenario:
-You must take a test and pass to receive a voter registration card.
-You can do this any time from age 16 forward. (Voting age would be lowered due to test requirement.)
-You may take the test as many times as you like but only once a day.
-The test is in very simple words with versions available in every imaginable language, with audio available and no time limit, but made to take less than 30 minutes on average.
-The test can be taken for free either at a testing center (maybe a corner at the DMV) or online from your home computer (or maybe even a cell phone app) at any time.
-The test covers very very basic principles of US civics (similar to questions on the US naturalization test for immigrants), and some simple logic/critical thinking questions. NO opinion or personal questions will be asked.
-Brochures containing information about the material on the test for studying purposes will be freely available in every post office and DMV and online in multiple languages, with audio versions available online.
Under conditions like these, would you be in favor of or against a test that must be passed before one can receive a voter registration card? (Note that this would also have an impact on who serves on a jury, as many states pull names for jury duty from voter registration lists.)
(As for my opinion, I’m not sure, but I’m very curious about what people have to say about this.)
Post # 3
Given our history with using voting tests to disenfranchise black people and other minorities, I think it’s a bad idea.
Post # 4
No, I don’t think we need to introduce more barriers to decrease voter turnout even more.
I’m satisfied with every citizen being entitled to vote, and in fact would be MORE inclined to go the Australian route of mandatory voting, than to make it more exclusive.
Post # 5
Voting is an inalienable right in the USA.
Post # 6
There is no way on earth this could ever be implemented without bias against minority voters. Ever. Just the translation of the test into Spanish, for example, could be done in such a way as to make it misleading. Voting tests also smack of literacy tests, which were used all across the South to disenfranchise African-American voters. Also, when one considers the low rates of voter registration and voter turn-out, never mind the issues that came up in the past election with inadequate polling places and hours long wait times in some urban areas just to get people to vote, a voting test becomes another impediment to sufferage. It would never stand up to scrutiny, and it would be used as a weapon against minority populations no matter how equitably it was intended. This is the same problem we’re encountering with picture ID laws for voting. They invariably make voting harder for historically disenfranchised populations, frankly, and are designed to do so.
Post # 7
@kaylee26: My thoughts exactly.
Furthermore, who is qualified to say who should be given the right to vote? No one. That’s why it’s considered an inalienable right.
Post # 8
This savours a bit too strongly of Third Reich shit, to me.
Post # 9
I like the idea in theory. When I was younger this was actually something I had come up with too and was all for.
I think there are just too many issues for it to be something I would actually want implemented.
Post # 10
@SapphireSun: I lean toward your opinion… I’m actually curious on people’s feelings about mandatory voting as well! 😀
Post # 11
Where is your other poll? I don’t see it in your profile.
Pleasssse let it be about presenting ID to vote. Pleeeeeease. 🙂
Post # 12
@Bebealways: There was a voting scandal a few years back with mail in ballots. A specific group of recent immigrants was targeted in it. I think mandatory voting would lead to bigger scandals, with vote buying and that type of thing with people who don’t really care or even know where their vote goes.
I don’t know the specifics of how it works in Australia. Do people with severe dementia or reduced mental capacity have to vote?
Post # 13
@Paiger8: I wrote a whole long post and it got deleted by accident and I’m sulking… so it’s not up yet haha.
@AB Bride: Whoa now I wanna know what they do about that (vote buying and such) in Australia too!
Post # 14
Great idea in theory, but the first challenging part: How do you assure that the test is not biased to favor one political party over another? Republicans would benefit from questions that require more academic knowledge because the disenfranchised would not have the same opportunities for academic knowledge. Democrats would benefit from questions that involve critical thinking as dem voters tend to do better in that. Independent parties would probably benefit from both types of questions (especially the latter) but they have very little sway.
Can you see how the exact wording of each question would be debated on ad nausium? Though eventually an agreement could be come to. (though this won’t be easy at all… think of how there would have to be multiple versions of the test to minimize cheating. Corrupt politicians who have the money to spend on an organized cheating scheme won’t be above cheating to get more successful votes).
Next and most challenging, a serious problem faced by many great and highly logical ideas that would make the world a better place: How can you create the POLITICAL WILL to do it?
Federal politicians and their funders DO NOT PREFER an informed voter. (If you disagree, that’s fine, but assume the just for the sake of discussing this that they don’t prefer it. How will we, the public, cause this to happen anyway?)
Post # 15
BTW, my view is that we have to get the money (funders, donors, lobbyists) out of politics… it will corrupt any other effort to correct the situation.
Post # 16
@joya_aspera: Yes… I’m afraid more of the second part of your answer than the first. I’m more interested in the concept of a perfectly unbiased exam, and what impact that would have, because I think the potential problems with one that isn’t perfect are clear, PPs said them very well. Of course it would be difficult to create such a test, but who knows, maybe someday it could be possible.
But would it be worth it? I can’t even decide if I think it would make much of a difference. Maybe even an imaginary perfect test would just draw attention and money and time away from the true problems with the election system.
A bigger difference for the better to the process could probably be made by cutting corporations out of the process. (No more corporate donations, no more super pacs, etc.) Those funders seem like a bigger problem than any voter or group of voters, no matter how uninformed.
The second thing you said scares me about more issues than just this one. I do agree, and I often feel like the preferences of people in power don’t line up with the needs and wants of those they represent. The “no more corporate donations” for example would proabably lead to a better, fairer process, but that would be like trying to get politicians to vote to reduce their own salaries. I wonder who would do it. Probably not a majority.