Tuesday, October 14, 2008

FLG's Voter Test

Alan is always trying to get me to assist in his quest of voter education. I, however, have always believed that people are often lazy, ill-informed and, quite frankly, stupid. Like Bill Buckley, I would rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than the Harvard faculty. Yet, as David Brooks mentions in this video, those aren't the only two options. I am of similar mind when it comes to voting. I'd like everybody to vote, but some people are so ill-informed and dumb that their votes make our country worse off.

Then why aren't you helping Alan with voter education? Because I think anybody, in the information age we live in, can become an educated voter if they put in the slightest effort. Libraries offer free newspapers and internet access. It's not rocket science. If a person is too lazy or too stupid to do it on their own, then I don't want them voting. Furthermore, I don't particularly want to waste my time getting people half interested in political issues when they aren't already. I see no benefit in talking somebody who never thinks or reads about politics, government policy, or foreign affairs into registering to vote. Nor do I think that I should have to encourage them to exercise their right.

So, to weed out the morons who screw up our political process with their votes I offer the following voter test:

Name the current President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, and three Supreme Court justices. Only last names are required, and no cheat sheets will be permitted.

If you cannot complete the test, then you should not vote. Period.

To fend off possible complaints:
First, I am aware that voter tests aren't allowed, but they should be. Second, this test ain't hard. Third, yes, this is elitist and I am comfortable with that. Lastly, I am aware that campaigns will be in front of the polling stations drilling names into their constituents' heads. I'm cool with that, too. The voters will be more knowledgeable because of the process, even if it is only the knowledge of a person's name.

But, FLG, if you are talking about the campaigns helping people memorize names, then why aren't you for voter education that does the same thing? Well, I am not against it per se. I've just got better things to do with my time. Also, memorizing names isn't all that useful, but it might be annoying enough that campaigns will try to appeal to more intelligent and informed voters rather than creating huge memorize-these-names-so-you-can-vote drives.


alan_howe said...

To clarify for those not already in the know, my goal is to increase the number of educated, informed voters. That is, to increase the percentage of Americans who graduate from high school and go on to college, to help those people understand the issues that affect their country and their lives, and to get those people to wield this power at least in the voting booth and hopefully beyond that. I welcome all support, including that of FLG however unwillingly provided.

Anonymous said...

On a related note, a site just went up (http://www.fit2vote.com) that enables people to vote for their candidate, but first presents them with a voter fitness test that measures their knowledge of U.S. government, politics, and the 2008 presidential candidates' positions on issues.

On this site votes are weighted by test score so people with a reasonable understanding of government, politics, and candidate positions have a stronger voice in the election.

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