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Voting Rights & Civics Test

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  • Brooks, AB
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    In my forays to promote a new kind of governance, I encountered a deep thinker with the pseudonym of "Ben Paine." He has written many thoughtful articles about the state and future of the USA.

    One of his ideas is to tie voting rights to passing some kind of civics test, where future voters have to demonstrate some basic knowledge of their system of governance. You can read the full article here:

    benpaine76.blogspot.com/2016/08/messing...

    I'm wondering if we could generate any discussion on this forum for such a civics test.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Dave Volek Wrote:

    In my forays to promote a new kind of governance, I encountered a deep thinker with the pseudonym of "Ben Paine." He has written many thoughtful articles about the state and future of the USA.

    One of his ideas is to tie voting rights to passing some kind of civics test, where future voters have to demonstrate some basic knowledge of their system of governance. You can read the full article here:

    benpaine76.blogspot.com/2016/08/messing...

    I'm wondering if we could generate any discussion on this forum for such a civics test.

    Dave, this would be an disaster; especially in the "bible belt, rust belt, the "dumb" belt, the slave belt, the farmer belt, the tornado belt, the coal belt, the ignorant belt, and the movie belt etc. Most people don't know what "civics" are, let alone know nothing beyond this "island" Amen.
  • Independent
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    While I see the point it falls into the category of literacy tests used to exclude blacks in the Jim Crow era. Start early with civics and current events every year in school. Maybe our children and grandchildren can be educated away from crap culture to become responsible citizens.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    First it has to be taught that making a fortune does not permit rising above the law.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    Besides that doing good things will get the vote out. Over forty years of no growth for lower class incomes does not require an education to see it is not fair.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Dave Volek -- As a volunteer canvasser for federal and state candidates for office from 2008 to the present I have met just about every possible kind of voter and potential voter. Also I have participated in voter registration campaigns. While I would never advocate taking away any citizen's right to vote for any circumstances, I have to admit that I have met some of the dumbest people regarding their knowledge of basic civics, and at times wondered if I was doing a disservice in registering them or encouraging to vote if registered.

    What we need is education campaigns to educate voters on why participating in our democracy is so important. That is more easily said than done because the chief beneficiary of the ignorant voter is the Republican Party.

    As an aside, I have looked at the citizen's test for new immigrants seeking citizenship. I honestly believe that our current president of the United States would flunk the test.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Kenosha, WI
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    This was proposed by the republican party a few years ago, especially around the times Obama was elected twice because republicans, especially white republicans thought that African-Americans were too ignorant to properly vote, some republicans (Trump-like) still believe Latinos, Hispanics, blacks, (you name the race-ethnicity) are too ignorant to make their choices of whom to vote for because of their color or creed. (Deep Thinker) IS right wing dog whistle politics. Rush Limbaugh is one of those deep thinkers, or critical thinker.

    No, America DOES NOT need to apply a civics test for eligible voters.

    America does not need to vet voters, it needs to vet candidates. Because we don't, we end up with leaders like Trump, Pence, Ryan, McConnell, Rubio, etc..

    And, what Schmidt said. Thumbs Up

  • Brooks, AB
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    Thanks all for your response.

    I had a lot of discussion with Mr. Paine on this topic and made similar points to yours.

    In Catch-22, I believe it was Colonel Cathcart who was obsessed that some citizens deserved more votes than others, and he had a whole list of criteria to find those people who were more worthy of votes. But he himself was actually a very despicable character in this story, unworthy of the extra votes he thought he deserved. I remember wondering "Who is going to decide to gets more votes?"

    I took Mr. Paine's 100-question civic test. I scored about 90% without any study. It was not a difficult test for this Canadian. But because the test was so easy, I could not see a better voter coming out of such a test. If we really wanted a better voting decision, we should be making the test a lot harder. Then we would start disenfranchising a lot of citizens from the political process who couldn't pass this test or won't write it. More problems are created than solved.

    But for some reason, the idea still intrigues me. But whenever I run through my internal debate, universal suffrage is the only answer.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Kenosha, WI
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    Dave Volek Wrote:

    Thanks all for your response.

    I had a lot of discussion with Mr. Paine on this topic and made similar points to yours.

    In Catch-22, I believe it was Colonel Cathcart who was obsessed that some citizens deserved more votes than others, and he had a whole list of criteria to find those people who were more worthy of votes. But he himself was actually a very despicable character in this story, unworthy of the extra votes he thought he deserved. I remember wondering "Who is going to decide to gets more votes?"

    I took Mr. Paine's 100-question civic test. I scored about 90% without any study. It was not a difficult test for this Canadian. But because the test was so easy, I could not see a better voter coming out of such a test. If we really wanted a better voting decision, we should be making the test a lot harder. Then we would start disenfranchising a lot of citizens from the political process who couldn't pass this test or won't write it. More problems are created than solved.

    But for some reason, the idea still intrigues me. But whenever I run through my internal debate, universal suffrage is the only answer.

    NO. Absolutely not.

    While I personally would like to see our constitution shredded and rewritten, it guarantees people the right to vote, and with the voting rights act of 1965, it protects those rights and enhances a person's right to vote.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act...

    Americans do not need a civics test to vote, and never will need one. What we should do is make it more difficult for a person who wishes to be elected to any position in our government tougher, we need to make sure the people we vote for are to serve the people who voted for that person. Forget vetting of voters, we should make sure candidates are vetted to a higher standard.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Well said Dock. Any test of voters would be absolutely exclusionary and attempt to eliminate opposing views. Who would grade or filter such tests ? That's almost as scary as the test themselves.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote:

    Dave Volek -- As a volunteer canvasser for federal and state candidates for office from 2008 to the present I have met just about every possible kind of voter and potential voter. Also I have participated in voter registration campaigns. While I would never advocate taking away any citizen's right to vote for any circumstances, I have to admit that I have met some of the dumbest people regarding their knowledge of basic civics, and at times wondered if I was doing a disservice in registering them or encouraging to vote if registered.

    What we need is education campaigns to educate voters on why participating in our democracy is so important. That is more easily said than done because the chief beneficiary of the ignorant voter is the Republican Party.

    As an aside, I have looked at the citizen's test for new immigrants seeking citizenship. I honestly believe that our current president of the United States would flunk the test.

    Schmidt, as long as there is an Betsy DeVos, then forget any logical education. FOX News is the "educator" in the households now. Sorry to say the Hitler propaganda machine has arrived full force. Our new "reborn" Hitler does not read ( except Mein Kampf) does not listen to realistic experts, surrounds himself with fanatic "losers" who don't know shit either, like Bolton. Kudlow, Ross, Navarro, Miller, Jordan, Ryan, McConnell, McNuchin, Mulvany as well accepts everything FOX News spews out.etc. etc. Thus no "test" will help as long as only "indoctrination, lies, deceit" are the things taught here.
  • Brooks, AB
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    Dock: I'm not sure whether you have read my post carefully enough. But just to make sure my position is clear, I am not in favor of any version of a civics test to gain voting rights, Mr. Paine's or otherwise. Universal suffrage is the only way to go.

    But I do like to introduce new ideas into discussion, even those I disagree with. Mr. Paine does have a logical argument to his position. Maybe there is something there that can spurn us on to some better thinking.

    I spent six years in party politics. The parties may try to try to vet or say they have tried to vet. But I have seen alcoholics, lazy people, disloyal people, psychopaths, etc. all take a run at the nominations. At best, the party may hope the party membership is able to cast a wise voice, but sometimes these "crazy people" do win the nomination. If they are in a political jurisdiction where the party is set to win, these same people then become part of the government.

    If you have some ideas on how parties can vet for better candidates, I would like to hear about them.

  • Brooks, AB
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    Dutch Wrote:
    Schmidt, as long as there is an Betsy DeVos, then forget any logical education. FOX News is the "educator" in the households now. Sorry to say the Hitler propaganda machine has arrived full force. Our new "reborn" Hitler does not read ( except Mein Kampf) does not listen to realistic experts, surrounds himself with fanatic "losers" who don't know shit either, like Bolton. Kudlow, Ross, Navarro, Miller, Jordan, Ryan, McConnell, McNuchin, Mulvany as well accepts everything FOX News spews out.etc. etc. Thus no "test" will help as long as only "indoctrination, lies, deceit" are the things taught here.

    Dutch: I think you are overblowing the political landscape. Last time I checked, CNN, MSNBC, etc. are still on the air, indoctrinating their fan base. Mr. Trump may be making some noise about shutting down these media outlets, but I don't think he has the political smarts to figure out how to do this. And he certainly hasn't shot any protesters yet.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Dave Volek Wrote:
    Dutch Wrote:
    Schmidt, as long as there is an Betsy DeVos, then forget any logical education. FOX News is the "educator" in the households now. Sorry to say the Hitler propaganda machine has arrived full force. Our new "reborn" Hitler does not read ( except Mein Kampf) does not listen to realistic experts, surrounds himself with fanatic "losers" who don't know shit either, like Bolton. Kudlow, Ross, Navarro, Miller, Jordan, Ryan, McConnell, McNuchin, Mulvany as well accepts everything FOX News spews out.etc. etc. Thus no "test" will help as long as only "indoctrination, lies, deceit" are the things taught here.

    Dutch: I think you are overblowing the political landscape. Last time I checked, CNN, MSNBC, etc. are still on the air, indoctrinating their fan base. Mr. Trump may be making some noise about shutting down these media outlets, but I don't think he has the political smarts to figure out how to do this. And he certainly hasn't shot any protesters yet.

    Dave, time will tell; the circus is just started; just look at the "clowns" who don't even know who the mothers were of the kids they kidnapped. Also the shooting will start shortly.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    There's just one incy wincy problem with your proposal...the Voting Rights Act of 1965 explicitly prohibits literacy tests.

    I want nothing more than an educated Republic. As Schmidt has pointed out - our Neanderthal President would almost surely fail a US Citizenship test. Hell - the vast majority of Americans would fail a US Citizenship test.

    I know this from experience because I've helped numerous friends and acquaintances study for their citizenship test. The questions the test asks are quite easy if you have a solid understanding of US civics, but I would be willing to bet the farm that the vast majority of American citizens, including Donald, would fail it spectacularly.

    Your heart seems to be in the right place, but if something like this were enacted then the poor and destitute would simply lose their right to vote while the rich would see their already out sized power cemented for eternity.