If adult children should be able to stay on their parent’s insurance until they are 26 years-old, should we rethink at what point a person reaches the age of majority?
The original ratified form of the U.S. Constitution contained no definition of who could vote and who was restricted from doing so other than that they be a citizen and it was generally accepted in most states, only non-Negro men with real property-usually of at least 50 acres of land or sufficient wealth for taxation were permitted to vote. Un-propertied men and women were denied the franchise of voting.
Over the succeeding years, though the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the right to vote was extended to every citizen over the age of 18 (with the 26th Amendment). Doing so, all voters are assumed to be equal.
There was a reason that the original act of voting was restricted to men, property owners and those with sufficient wealth to be taxed. As common to the culture at the time, men were more likely to be formally educated and if they had property and wealth enough to pay the taxes, it was felt that those who pay the bills should have a say in how their tax dollars were spent.
There is a danger to the American Republic posed by what is now called the “low information voter”, there can be little doubt that a vote cast in ignorance is a tool to be manipulated by those interested in disinformation, but how to end this danger is a matter of delicate debate.
What should be done?
- The age of majority of the voting age be increased? If so, to what level – 26 to match Obamacare? If you are too immature to have your own job and insurance, are you too immature to vote?
- A citizen be required to pay taxes before being allowed to vote and if so, how much tax liability is enough? Should a non-taxpayer be allowed to decide on matters of government spending?
- A natural born citizen be required to take and pass the same citizenship test that is administered to naturalized citizens before being allowed to vote? If you can’t pass a basic civics test to prove you know how government works, should you be allowed to control it with your vote?
- A citizen be required to pass a current events test before being allowed to go to the polls? If you know nothing about the challenges we face as a nation, should you be allowed to put people in office who are going to act on these challenges?
- All of the above?
Should voting be a right of every citizen regardless of level of comprehension of how the electoral system works and what the important issues of the day are?
I know it sounds discriminatory but I do not think every citizen is capable of the level of understanding of the candidates, the issues and our system of governance to cast an informed, effective vote at the national level. The level of overall ignorance of basic reality of many segments of our population is stunning and one has to assume that the rate of ignorance of domestic and international politics is even greater.
Recent elections indicate that people are willing to vote based on emotion, race, slick marketing or simple ignorance of the real issues. We also saw the emerging power of the “Free Sh*t Army”, people who were voting for the person and party based on getting “stuff”, those groups essentially using promises of taxpayer funded government largess to buy votes.
A recent poll found that 36% of Americans believe UFOs are real and another found that nearly half of all Americans say astrology, the study of celestial bodies’ purported influence on human behavior and worldly events, is either “very scientific” or “sort of scientific.”
So, you tell me if these people should be allowed to elect a president and a government and decide on major policy issues.
I don’t think so.
I’m sorry to admit it but I do believe there is such a thing as being too dumb to vote.