General Question

RandomMrdan's avatar

Do you think there should be prerequisites for ones ability to vote?

Asked by RandomMrdan (7436points) April 18th, 2010
69 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

It seems there are a lot of ignorant people voting, people who don’t understand issues thoroughly enough to have an accurate opinion.

I was watching starship troopers, and it has spawned a few questions I’ve asked on here. But in the movie, in order for people to vote, youneed to first be a citizen, and to be a citizen, you need to serve your government in some way. Not to say that’s such a good idea, since people who serve often will have much different opinions than people who don’t when it comes to voting on issues.

What kind of prerequisites to voting do you think would be nice to have in place? Or do you think everyone should have the right to vote regardless?

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gtreyger's avatar

Citizenship, certain age (18 seems as good as any), no history of confirmed mental problems and no felonies. Seems like a good system. Even the one’s who aren’t too bright have the right to be represented.

zophu's avatar

Ignorant people are the ideal voters. Who do you think creates their ignorance? The same people who benefit from their fickle votes.

RandomMrdan's avatar

So you’re both of the opinion to not have any prerequisites to voting? With the exception of just being 18.

I guess I’m of the opinion to weed out ignorance and stupidity when it comes to voting. Sounds like things would run a bit more efficiently.

CupcakesandTea's avatar

I believe every U.S. citizen should always have the right to vote.

john65pennington's avatar

Convicted felons should not be able to vote. (they can in some states).

Ilegal immigrants should not be able to vote.

No other restrictions. this is America.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I sure do. Everyone should have an IQ of at least 50 to vote. Even then, it’s a dicey proposition.~

RandomMrdan's avatar

One could argue that when America first came to be, that only white males who owned property could vote. Then the ⅓ vote came into effect, but were simply added to their owners vote.

And finally women were able to vote as well. But at one time, not everyone could vote.

zophu's avatar


Of course it would be more efficient, that’s not the point. Have you looked at a TV before? People are being bred as idiots, do you think this is done without purpose?

People who are not experts of a field should not be able to vote on anything concerning that field. For example: for one to be able to vote on education grades 1–6, they should have to prove that they are qualified to do so. The same rules should apply to every other aspect of society. Politics is outdated, it’s time for scientific social organization. It is our only hope.

tranquilsea's avatar

With the exception of having an age limitation, I don’t think there should be any reason why someone can’t vote.

I’m on the fence with whether illegal immigrants should be. If they have created a life in the country then I think they should have the right to vote. If we had a large group of illegal immigrants then I think that is a problem with our immigration laws.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

You should not be allowed to vote unless you have a positive net worth of >= 1x per capita GDP. Half of people now don’t pay federal income taxes and the system will begin to collapse as they just vote themselves more and more benefits.

ucme's avatar

Floridians are a bit suspect, at least some are. Allegedly.

lynfromnm's avatar

I think adulthood and citizenship are the only requirements acceptable. I don’t think anyone is in a position to set limits on the behavior of others for voting purposes. IQ, wealth, property ownership etc are not qualifications for citizenship and therefore not for voting.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@lynfromnm: ” are not qualifications for citizenship and therefore not for voting.” <== This is faulty logic. Being a citizen is not enough to be allowed to vote. For instance, a three day old baby is a citizen. Felons are citizens. The qualifications should be HIGHER for voting than for general citizenship.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@tranquilsea: “With the exception of having an age limitation, I don’t think there should be any reason why someone can’t vote.” <== really? Then people in Iran should be allowed to vote for the US president? We need many more restrictions than age alone.

tranquilsea's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish ok,, my brain is a little slow this morning. I mean that if they are living in my country. But I thought I made that pretty clear in my next paragraph.

Mamradpivo's avatar

As long as you can prove that you are a citizen above 18 years of age, nothing else should matter. I’ve never understood why people who have served prison time don’t get to vote in some states. Haven’t you been rehabilitated when we as a society release you?

mrentropy's avatar

Only free men who are landowners should vote.
I may be a bit behind the times.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@tranquilsea: You also think illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote but how do you protect the rights of citizenship when non-citizens vote?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

You cant keep people from voting just because you think they’re dumb.
It is a constitutional right afforded to all US citizens.

gemiwing's avatar

Slippery slope argument goes here.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Perhaps I’m being a bit pessimistic, but I interact daily with ignorant people constantly. And, I can’t help but think majority of people out there are ignorant when it comes to politics. I stop and think, “This person actually has the right to vote?”, it’s almost a scary thought.

@Captain_Fantasy I wasn’t suggesting to keep dumb people from voting period. But perhaps a system that requires these “dumb people” to do something before they earn their right to vote (instead of living to age 18). Like take a government class every 4–8 years, before November, so they understand how the entire system works. I hear people all the time complain about the system, and complain about how things are passing that they don’t want to pass. And I respond with, “These things are being passed, because we the people appointed these individuals to be our voice”.

There are just too many people out there who don’t know how it all works. It’s been a while since I’ve taken a government class, and I don’t think I would mind a quick refresher course before I exercise my right to vote.

tranquilsea's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Um, I actually lean towards making them citizens. And just to be clear I am not American, I’m Canadian. And I’ve seen massive amounts of immigration and I have seen the benefits of it as well as the problems. Nearly all of the problems have disappeared within a generation as one culture gets to know the other.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It’s a terrible idea that takes away rights.

The problem isn’t that dumb people are voting. It’s that there’s too many people that aren’t voting, which I find dumb. Better believe that there are people who get paid a lot of money to think of ways to benefit politically by low voter turnouts.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@tranquilsea: Criminals should not be rewarded for criminal behavior unless you want more criminals.

gailcalled's avatar

Maybe a test on the correct use of apostrophes?

ChaosCross's avatar

Every voter should be forced to watch an hour long video of both candidate’s views and thoughts on different issues.

Fyrius's avatar

I think that eliminating (or even reducing) the influence of stupidity on politics is going to take more drastic revisions of the way we handle politics than can be effected by having any consistent kind of criteria on what sort of people can vote.

In order for politics to become genuinely sane, we would need to lose the us-versus-them wingnut mind-set somehow. This is the most common and the most influential way for stupidity to mess with politics; people divide themselves into opposing camps and vote for whatever the other people in their camp vote for, and against whatever the enemy votes for. Objective merit often doesn’t even factor into the thought process.

What’s worse is that both very dumb and very intelligent people do this, meaning even an IQ test before voting wouldn’t help.

But I recall reading about a brain scan experiment where test subjects read about their political side being wrong about something, and then the scan measured whether that triggered activity in the parts of their brains that deal with reconsideration and active thought, or the parts that automatically make excuses pop up to disregard notions that make them feel bad.
Maybe people should undergo that sort of test before being allowed to vote.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@ChaosCross: What about the primaries? What about write-in candidates? What if there are 10 democrat hopefuls and 10 republican hopefuls and 5 independent candidates at the beginning of the process? Should people have to watch 25 hours of video to determine which candidate to vote for in the primaries?

RandomMrdan's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy I don’t think it’s taking away rights. Everyone can still vote, I just think a political literacy test should be something in place. It could even be done the day before you go out to vote. Though, it doesn’t really help cure anyone of their ignorance, or stupidity, but may enlighten a few people who have a hard time understanding the whole process.

tranquilsea's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish “Criminals should not be rewarded for criminal behavior unless you want more criminals.”

In Canada, criminals can vote and prisoners can vote. Over time our crime rate has gone down even with these “privileges”. I have a hard time believing that having your right to vote revoked would stop most crimes from being committed.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@tranquilsea: I was referring to rewarding criminals by making them citizens. Criminals who are already citizens shouldn’t be allowed to vote but not just because it is taking away what they would consider a trivial reward from them.

tranquilsea's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I agree that illegal immigrants who have committed crimes shouldn’t be automatically handed citizenship. And the more egregious ones need to be send packing out of the country (which we do). That being said, if someone was here awaiting citizenship and was caught and prosecuted for stealing, for example, or something along that line, that shouldn’t be an automatic reason to deport them or deny them citizenship.

tinyfaery's avatar

That’s the tricky thing about democracy.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

This is all wishful fantasy. The powers that be want ignorant, pliable people as voters. People who will sit passively in front of the idiot box and absorb the propaganda. Even the literacy test was abolished about 50 years ago.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@tranquilsea: “I agree that illegal immigrants who have committed crimes shouldn’t be automatically handed citizenship.” <== 100% of illegal immigrants are criminals. Any other stance is an insult to legal aliens and citizens.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Too slippery of a slope – You start saying low IQ people can’t vote, and it’s not long before you say that legal immigrants can’t vote, or black people, or Muslims, etc.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ Or smart cats.

phillis's avatar

Yes, there is a very good way to keep idiots from voting. Retract driver’s licenses from idiot drivers and idiot parents. From now on, you have to have a license before you can have children or drive a car. No licenses, no voting.

DominicX's avatar

I can only foresee problems when we begin to restrict people’s votes based on inaccurate crap like IQ tests. What else would you suggest? What are we basing “stupidity” on? Having a different political view than you =/= stupid. And I see that all the time. One man’s stupid is another man’s smart when it comes to extremely opposing political views.

Personally, I want to do away with this bipartisan polarity. The whole concept of “party loyalty” is absurd.

But the elitism billowing out of this question, man…

Maybe I don’t want this so we can prevent elitists from deciding everything about this country…

tranquilsea's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish “100% of illegal immigrants are criminals”

That is a pretty severe position. I can’t put illegal immigrants on the same level as murderers and rapists. The whole deal with emigrating to a new country is that the process favours the wealthy and punishes the working poor. I am not in favour of throwing a wider and wider net around what is considered criminal.

phillis's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I can’t wait to meet you in person. Who else would blame 16 million people for the decisions a government makes? Way to pass the buck! When are you running for office?

lynfromnm's avatar

I agree 100% with Dominicx. Elitism is an insidious danger in this country. We should start with the presumption that we all have all rights, rather than the other way around. Rights aren’t earned, they are intrinsic.

phillis's avatar

@lynfromnm That only counts in marriage and fishing licenses :) I’ll remember to tell the police officer that when he asks for my license that is a recurring fee. My tax dollars paid for the streets, the paint, the lights, the gas, the oil, the machines that made the streets, the workers who run them, the material that made the streets, the recurring ad velorum taxes, the upkeep and maintenance of the streets and street lights, every gallon of gas I buy, every quart of oil, the emissions tests I am required by my state to purchase to run my car on the streets I paid for, insurance to run my car, and the police officer’s salary and his vehicle, with the snotty attitude who writes my ticket so that I can pay a fine…..because paying all those taxes isn’t enough to make up for all those the “misappropriated” tax dollars. Come to think of it, my idiot license idea extends to corrupt lawmakers, as well. Thanks! I forgot to include that in my first answer.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@tranquilsea: “I am not in favour of throwing a wider and wider net around what is considered criminal.” <== in the past people who broke the laws were criminals and they still are today.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@phillis: 20–30,000,000! I blame them for decisions they made themselves. I blame the government for lackluster enforcement of immigration laws.

phillis's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Hey, I can only go according to hard facts provided by said government on this website unless I want to be accused of posting erroneous figures. Again, place the blame where it goes, aight?

While you’re doing your part to assign blame, don’t forget that THIS government is the same government who took away driver’s licenses of (your figures) 20–30,000,000 people so that there is no way in HELL they can legally support themselves or carry car insurance. Did we really think they would stop driving?

Who is idiot enough to believe that these people aren’t in a mad dash to their local medcaid and food stamp office to cover themselves until they’re discovered?

Who are the idiots who decided that allowing people with no social security number to draw medicaid and food stamps was a better idea than taking away illiegal’s ability to drive to support theri families and the economy?

If you want to place blame, I redirect you to your government. These are the ones who are puffed up with pride that we could use an entire nation’s worth of people to cover all our shit jobs that we were too good to take, and pay them under the table at half the legal wage (about $2.80 per hour). Shall we bitch that they didn’t pay income tax? Sure, why not! We can rape them twice.

Now businesses who depended on thier money are shutting down because those people are being shipped off in record numbers. There are entire strip malls in my area that are standing empty. It’s crashing the economy! We’re supposed to give kudos for the stupidest decision in recent history?

While I am at it, let’s make a concerted effort to avoid looking at how we’re breaking apart families simply because we’re finished using them like we did for the past 40 years. Who cares, if the children born here are legal? They can suck off the government teat for 18 years! They no longer have parents who can work to support them.

It looks to me like we’re deporting the wrong people. The illegals outsmarted us and turned our whole system in their favor – and we let them. So who are the real idiots? As long as we’re fantasizing how to eliminate idiots who vote, we need a whole new set of idiots to vote for.

BoBo1946's avatar

Two friends are discussing politics on Election Day, each trying to no avail to convince the other to switch sides.

Finally, one says to the other: “Look, it’s clear that we are unalterably opposed on every political issue. Our votes will surely cancel out. Why not save ourselves some time and both agree to not vote today?’’

The other agrees enthusiastically and they part.

Shortly after that, a friend of the first one who had heard the conversation says, “That was a sporting offer you made.’’

“Not really,’’ says the second. “This is the third time I’ve done this today.”

phillis's avatar

I might also add that Hispanic-speaking people make up over 80% of the illegals in the U.S. Every last one of them comes from severely economically depressed areas with little in the way of money to be made. That’s right – they are a scavenger race. They have become masters at turning nothing into something. They are not the ones who ran the planes into the World Trade Towers. They are not the one’s who perpetrated the attacks on the USS Cole, They don’t have the money, or the desire, to destroy their cash cow. Why aren’t we hearing anything newsworthy about deporting the people in the sleeper cells in our own backyards? I have yet to hear a word uttered about that. Leave the poor who cannot afford to defend themselves, alone.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@phillis: I have no problem with poor Mexicans in Mexico. My problem is when they come here and leech off our limited resources. They should be expelled and the resources should be preserved for citizens.

phillis's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Great! You can support their legal children. Let me know how that turns out.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish “Give me your tired, your poor… unless we force you out with a pitchfork…” It’d be better if we would increase foreign aid to the countries that these economic refugees are leaving. They’d rather stay at home, I promise. But of course we get all pissy anytime someone suggests foreign aid too… so this is pretty much the natural consequence of our inaction.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@phillis: Anchor babies shouldn’t be citizens. They were never intended to be as when the laws are followed only people legally within the USA can birth babies inside the USA.

phillis's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Then I suggest you start campaigning immediately and start kissing a whole lot of white babies. You know….. non-anchor children. I’ll offer my littlest one for you to kiss, since she’s half white. She’s legal, you know. You can kiss her lower half.

phillis's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish What do you care? Only half of her has the right to be here, according to you. If you were the policy maker I’d half to cut her in half to adhere to your laws, Vlad. Your blanket mindset is not fair to every person. You’ve created victims out of about 40 million kids who never did a goddamn thing to you. Do you seriously think children deserve to be punished for the ineptitude of the idiots in goverment? If you do, then I have failed miserably in judging your humanity.

My little girl has never done anything to anybody. She lives for the joy of throw her little arms around the necks of everyone she sees, laughing, and getting dirty. She’s a pro at all three. She’s too little to have a voice unless somebody says something. As it happens, I am her mother. She has a voice.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I think you should have to take a small quiz or something before you vote. So that you actually understand what you’re voting for.

tranquilsea's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish “in the past people who broke the laws were criminals and they still are today.”

Not true, not true. There are many things that have been criminal in the past that are no longer criminal today. Like homosexuality, suicide and alcohol consumption. Conversely, for a long time drug consumption (heroine, cocaine) was not illegal and now it is (it needs to go back to being not).

The laws du jour are really just that. They can be repealed and often they are.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

They used to put debtors in prison, as well. The southern colonies like Georgia and Florida, if my memory serves, were where they were sent to. Those people weren’t criminals.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@py_sue: They still put debtors in prison.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@tranquilsea: The laws aren’t what you want them to be they are what we have collectively voted them to be. Maybe the North American Man-Boy Love Association thinks the no old man and a little boy laws are just the laws du jour and like homosexuality everyone will see the light and these laws will go away. They can point to old laws in ancient Greece and Mohammad to justify their actions. However, if they don’t follow these laws they are still criminals. The illegal aliens and crack pushers are criminals. Some of us just aren’t enlightened enough to see that the sexual-love between an old man and a little boy is a beautiful thing.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@phillis: If a criminal is put in jail, deported, or executed for breaking a law who caused the children to be victims? This is only a result of the parent’s actions.

tranquilsea's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish “Some of us just aren’t enlightened enough to see sexual-love between an old man and a little boy is a beautiful thing.”

Where did you get that I was advocating that? Please don’t use my tag and then add garbage like that in your post like I had mentioned it and then advocated for it.

lynfromnm's avatar

@phillis Just because the government slowly sucks our rights away doesn’t mean they are right to do so. I fight these infringements every chance I get, and that includes all of the laws that are “for my own good”.

phillis's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Now, yer talkin! I can easily get on board with this line of thinking. If someone comes here and commits crimes, develops a rap sheet, then ship their asses back. We don’t need em. If their crime is punishable by death, then so be it. All those things do make victims out of children, nay, out of all of us, when it’s their caretakers who perpetrate the crimes.

However, the situation you have presented in your last post to meis the opposite of what you originally said. You made a blanket statement to include all aliens without consiedering any human element whatsoever. Before you jump the gun and say the law is the law, I might remind you that many laws were created specifically due to their human element. In fact, most of them came about for that reason alone.

But, if all they have done since they came here is work their asses off (the term wetback didn’t evolve without a very good reason), paid their taxes, avoided trouble with the law, raised their familes, and were overall everything you would want a decent citizen to be, then what the fuck? They’re better than half the U.S. citizens who were born here! So, why punish the overwhelming majority for the crimes of the few?

Furthermore, why break up families, such as mine, when nobody has done anything wrong? My husband came here 14 years ago, learned our language, has paid his taxes, started his own business, raised and supported his family, has never been in any trouble with the law, never once sucked off the government, and has basically been such an ideal citizen that all his customers (except for the new ones) are long-term, and ALL of them were outraged that our idiot government is trying to deport him. He has letters from every last one of them supporting his character, with multitudes of promises to appear in court on his behalf. Is this the type of criminal you’re talking about? Is this the type of person who deserves being deported? Doesn’t sound like any criminal I have ever heard of.

None of this would have happened, had 9–11-2001 not occured. We were perfectly content having a nationful of people to use for all our shit jobs, who we could pay half the legal wages to. Their extreme need served our greed very, very well.

My husband and I married 5 weeks after 9–11. Had we married 3 weeks earlier, we wouldn’t have lost everything we worked our asses off for. See, your government decided to pull the plug on ALL illegal aliens in a blanket attempt to prevent a similar reocurrence like 9–11. They secretly pulled the ability for an illegal to marry a U.S. citizen to become legal, only…they didn’t tell anybody. They didn’t want to hear from civil rights groups who would have bitched loudly until the cows come home. They didn’t want to hear that! So they pulled that option off the table and never looked back. Does this sound like an upstanding group of lawmakers to you?

I will take this opportunity to point out once more that, while everybody else id being deported, we still have yet to hear a word about bringing anybody to justice who is masterminding or participating in sleeper cell activity. We managed to find one person who was part of that murderous thug outfit, but he was an American citizen. Are you sure we’re deporting the right people?

Now were are the very definition of destitute. We have no home, our work truck was repossessed because hs license, and therefore, his ability to work, became non-existent. I am certain that you couldn’t care less, but if it happened to you none of us would ever hear the end of it.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Wow… this has drifted so far off topic…

phillis's avatar

The question is idiots who vote and how to prevent it. The whole topic is an excercise in fantasy. “Idiots”, as has been pointed out, includes a hell of alot more than just voters. It also includes idiot lawmakers, which ties in directly to the question. But thanks for going out of your way to feel for somebody else, anyway. Even a comment of support would have strained you. I now see I was totally off base in my assessment of the participants. I won’t make that mistake again. Please DO continue doggedly clinging to fantasy subject matter. It is so much more important than anything I brought up.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] There is some good debating here, but it is off-topic. Please open a new question to discuss immigration, and let’s get this question back on track. Thanks!

mattbrowne's avatar

Just one: 18 years of age. Ignorant people should be allowed to vote too.

It’s our job to reduce ignorance and promote education for everyone.

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