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Voting: My ideal solution.






So, do these three changes seem good?
Yes! Yes! make it happen right now!
33%
 33%  [ 2 ]
Reasonable, I suppose.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
They could use a few changes.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
There's only a few things there that are actually good ideas.
16%
 16%  [ 1 ]
You moron! How could you possibly think these are good ideas?
33%
 33%  [ 2 ]
I like voting!
16%
 16%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 6

ocalhoun
Who can vote
To put it simply: everyone.
There's just two requirements:


Requirement 1: You must be a citizen.
A later part of this series will deal with immigration, pointing out, among other things, that it should be far, far easier to become a citizen.


Requirement 2: You must pass the test.
While I support equal rights for everyone, I do not think that the mentally handicapped or the simply stupid should be deciding the course of the nation.
*This test would not be exclusionary- it would be easy to pass, and if you fail it you should be able to pass it easily next time if you take the time to learn and study a little.
*This test would also not attempt to bias the answers in order to exclude voters who believe differently on controversial issues.
*This test would not exclude cultures, languages, or ethnicities. While it would expect some basic knowledge of the country, it would avoid ethnic-particular questions, and would be offered in a wide variety of languages.
*It would focus on three areas: 1- Basic knowledge of the country. 2- Basic knowledge about other things. 3- Basic intelligence and problem solving.
*It would be graded on a curve: if less than 70% of people pass it, the passing score will be lowered to allow more to pass. If more than 70% pass it, the standards will NOT be raised. Excluding the worst 30% is not the point.

Examples of acceptable test questions:

(US knowledge)
-Who was the first president of the USA?
a) George Washington
b) Abraham Lincoln
c) George Bush
d) Benjamin Franklin

-The declaration of independence declared America's independence from _______
a) The USA
b) Canada
c) France
d) England

-The Continental United States is located to the South of what country?
a) The USA
b) Canada
c) France
d) Mexico

(Other knowledge)
-Which is the largest of these objects?
a) An elephant.
b) Spain
c) The moon
d) Massachusetts

-How many hours are there in a day?
a) 1
b) 12
c) 24
d) 48

-The color green is a combination of which two colors?
a) Yellow, Blue
b) Blue, Green
c) Red, Yellow
d) Blue, Blue

(Intelligence)
-Which comes next in this sequence: A, C, E, G, __?
a) A
b) Z
c) R
d) I

-75 divided by 2 is:
a) less than 10
b) between 10 and 30
c) between 30 and 40
d) more than 40

-Which is larger: 10% of 100000, 1% of 1000000, or 10% of 1000000?
a) 10% of 100000
b) 1% of 1000000
c) 10% of 1000000
d) They are all the same amount.



Examples of unacceptable test questions, and the reasons why:

-What was the exact date that the civil war ended on?
(Too difficult -exclusionary)

-What does the second amendment guarantee to the people?
(Controversial- could lead to bias)

-Who is the lead singer of Metallica?
(excludes anyone who doesn't listen to or care about that kind of music, particularly other ethnicities.)


The goal is only to weed out those incapable of deciding the future of the country. This is not a one-chance test!
You get to try the test every time you vote. If you fail once, you'll not be banned from voting forever. Instead you'll be encouraged to learn more about your country, learn more about the world, and to make yourself smarter.

This would not be intended primarily to exclude inept voters.
The purpose is to promote educated, intelligent voters.





The 'none of the above' option

On any ballot where you're voting for people to take office, there must always be a 'none of the above' option.
If more than 50% choose the 'none of the above' option, then the vote must be re-started from the beginning, with new candidates.

The purpose of this is to make voting about choosing what you want, not choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils.

(There would also be an 'undecided' option, letting you abstain from that particular vote without forcing a re-run of the election.)






Absence of political party association on ballot

On the ballots, the political party association of any particular candidate would no longer be shown.
Instead of voting for Smith Johnson (Rep) vs. John Smithson (Dem), people would just have to choose between Smith Johnson vs. John Smithson.

This way, people would actually have to choose their politicians based on knowing those politicians, and their political stances on various issues.

No longer would people go down a ballot just checking every box that had a (rep) next to it, nor would they do the same for the names followed by (dem). Instead of blindly voting along party lines, they would actually have to know who they were voting for.

If they still want to just vote along party lines, they still can, they'll just have to remember which politicians belong to their party.

Does this seem too difficult? Not at all! There's no reason you can't bring a reference to go by when voting. The best idea would be to decide ahead of time, write down your choices, and bring that list to the polls. If that's too much trouble for you, then you don't care enough about it to be concerned with it to begin with.


This is part 2 of my Ideal Government for America series.
The series will continue on an as-I-have-spare-time basis until I run out of topics to talk about, and then they will all be consolidated into one, concise vision for the ideal government of the USA, after assimilating comments and advice given from Frihosters, of course.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Requirement 2: You must pass the test.
While I support equal rights for everyone, I do not think that the mentally handicapped or the simply stupid should be deciding the course of the nation.
*It would focus on three areas: 1- Basic knowledge of the country. 2- Basic knowledge about other things. 3- Basic intelligence and problem solving.
*It would be graded on a curve: if less than 70% of people pass it, the passing score will be lowered to allow more to pass. If more than 70% pass it, the standards will NOT be raised. Excluding the worst 30% is not the point.

This would not be intended primarily to exclude inept voters.
The purpose is to promote educated, intelligent voters.

Totally agreed. Preferably there should be a handbook containing the basic knowledge one has to have in order to qualify for a citizen, as one would have in any subject that you need to be tested on for a certain degree of knowledge. It does not need to be overly sophisticated. In Canada they have a Citizenship Test Book, written in very easy English to understand, and containing all of the basic facts an average citizen needs to know about Canada. I imagine there would be something similar in the US? Perhaps when we discuss this, we should also include the age of majority, as I believe there are people younger than 18, who would qualify for voting. So possibly everyone, should be able to sit for the test and the age for voting be made 14 years rather than 18? I can imagine that only the serious minded youth would elect to register and do a test anyway.

ocalhoun wrote:
The 'none of the above' option

On any ballot where you're voting for people to take office, there must always be a 'none of the above' option.
If more than 50% choose the 'none of the above' option, then the vote must be re-started from the beginning, with new candidates. The purpose of this is to make voting about choosing what you want, not choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils.
This is a brilliant suggestion Ocalhoun, and I really like it. I wonder how the Presidential election would have looked like if that option had been available. I personally would have voted "none of the above". Bush, most certainly would not have been voted in during his first election, that was an election that really went wrong.

ocalhoun wrote:
(There would also be an 'undecided' option, letting you abstain from that particular vote without forcing a re-run of the election.)
I think that would make things a little bit too complicated. The "none of the above" would cover it for me.

ocalhoun wrote:
Absence of political party association on ballot

On the ballots, the political party association of any particular candidate would no longer be shown.
Instead of voting for Smith Johnson (Rep) vs. John Smithson (Dem), people would just have to choose between Smith Johnson vs. John Smithson.

This way, people would actually have to choose their politicians based on knowing those politicians, and their political stances on various issues.
I find that difficult to understand, as when they go down the campaign road, people would know which party they are from, just by virtue of the issues they are campaigning for. For example, the ballot does not show which religion they are, yet most people know at the time when they do their voting. But yes, probably there should not be any need for additional information on the Ballot. What could be useful is a video of both candidates that give their positions on important central issues, that would be compulsory to look through, before the person can make his/her vote. The information session can be in a form of a test that has to be passed as well. Of easy questions.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
So possibly everyone, should be able to sit for the test and the age for voting be made 14 years rather than 18? I can imagine that only the serious minded youth would elect to register and do a test anyway.

Well, when I said every citizen, I meant it. If you can pass the voting test when you're 4 years old, you can vote when you're 4. If your newborn infant is a genius and can already pass the test when 5 days old, he/she can vote too.

Being a citizen and passing the test would be the ONLY criteria.


Oh, and yes, there should be a pamphlet/book available to study up for the test, complete with example questions to practice on.
That book(let) should be available at all public libraries, and a copy of it should be given to anybody who tries to take the test and fails.
(Yes, that would cost money, but which would help the country more: $200 billion for failing corporations, or $5 million for voter education?)
Nick2008
Good idea, this should have been implemented already. Crying or Very sad
Voodoocat
How about this: you must be a citizen and you must have paid taxes the previous year. After all, who is more qualified to decide how your money is spent: you or someone mooching off of you?

This quote from Alexis De Tocqueville says it all:

Quote:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.


Guess what Obama and the Democrats are doing now? Elect us and you get free health care and cheap cars. Unfortunately, nothing is free.
Jinx
Voodoocat wrote:
How about this: you must be a citizen and you must have paid taxes the previous year. After all, who is more qualified to decide how your money is spent: you or someone mooching off of you?

This quote from Alexis De Tocqueville says it all:

Quote:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.


Guess what Obama and the Democrats are doing now? Elect us and you get free health care and cheap cars. Unfortunately, nothing is free.


I have to second this idea, or something similar. It would help to alleviate the tendency to vote for "bread and circuses". Though you would have to figure out a way not to penalize those who aren't living on the welfare system - this would be difficult to apply fairly I suppose.
Bannik
Quote:
Who can vote
To put it simply: everyone.
There's just two requirements:

go on
Quote:

Requirement 1: You must be a citizen.

seems fair

Quote:

Requirement 2: You must pass the test.
While I support equal rights for everyone, I do not think that the mentally handicapped or the simply stupid should be deciding the course of the nation.


agreed but what about the old, if you are too young too vote can you also be too old to vote? and what about dyslexic people who cannot do maths, would they be allowed calculators?
Quote:


*This test would not be exclusionary- it would be easy to pass, and if you fail it you should be able to pass it easily next time if you take the time to learn and study a little.


so its easy but its not? kinda seems pointless if i can retake it, there should be a new test every 3 months so that people wont recopy it, read up on the life in uk test, in the uk we have too do a test too prove how well we know England, if you pass you can apply for naturalization then passport BUT its is faulty as basically anyone can pass, i know because i have met people who dont even know what PM stands for in the parliament but still pass the test, because people have a book called "how to pass the life in the uk test" lol

Quote:
*This test would also not attempt to bias the answers in order to exclude voters who believe differently on controversial issues.


so can I answer GOD as the answer too all my questions. i am not wrong

Quote:
*This test would not exclude cultures, languages, or ethnicities. While it would expect some basic knowledge of the country, it would avoid ethnic-particular questions, and would be offered in a wide variety of languages.
good

Quote:
*It would focus on three areas: 1- Basic knowledge of the country. 2- Basic knowledge about other things. 3- Basic intelligence and problem solving.


read about my god comment, if i wanted too i could answer all of these as god did it.
Quote:

*It would be graded on a curve: if less than 70% of people pass it, the passing score will be lowered to allow more to pass. If more than 70% pass it, the standards will NOT be raised. Excluding the worst 30% is not the point.


not going too work


Quote:
(US knowledge)
-Who was the first president of the USA?
a) George Washington
b) Abraham Lincoln
c) George Bush
d) Benjamin Franklin

-The declaration of independence declared America's independence from _______
a) The USA
b) Canada
c) France
d) England

-The Continental United States is located to the South of what country?
a) The USA
b) Canada
c) France
d) Mexico

(Other knowledge)
-Which is the largest of these objects?
a) An elephant.
b) Spain
c) The moon
d) Massachusetts

-How many hours are there in a day?
a) 1
b) 12
c) 24
d) 48

-The color green is a combination of which two colors?
a) Yellow, Blue
b) Blue, Green
c) Red, Yellow
d) Blue, Blue

(Intelligence)
-Which comes next in this sequence: A, C, E, G, __?
a) A
b) Z
c) R
d) I

-75 divided by 2 is:
a) less than 10
b) between 10 and 30
c) between 30 and 40
d) more than 40

-Which is larger: 10% of 100000, 1% of 1000000, or 10% of 1000000?
a) 10% of 100000
b) 1% of 1000000
c) 10% of 1000000
d) They are all the same amount.[/color]


take these questions and go outside too the streets and ask random people, i will be very surprised by the outcome of those answers, and so will you







Quote:
-Who is the lead singer of Metallica?
(excludes anyone who doesn't listen to or care about that kind of music, particularly other ethnicities.)


what if i don't care about anything that happend past 1960s??/

sry couldn't go through it all have too leave in a hurry
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Well, when I said every citizen, I meant it. If you can pass the voting test when you're 4 years old, you can vote when you're 4. If your newborn infant is a genius and can already pass the test when 5 days old, he/she can vote too.
I don't think that would be practically feasible, considering that you would have to carry them to the voting booths and show them how everything works. 14 years seem to be a better age, there is more common sense, some life experience ....
ocalhoun
Jinx wrote:
Voodoocat wrote:
How about this: you must be a citizen and you must have paid taxes the previous year. After all, who is more qualified to decide how your money is spent: you or someone mooching off of you?

This quote from Alexis De Tocqueville says it all:

Quote:
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.


Guess what Obama and the Democrats are doing now? Elect us and you get free health care and cheap cars. Unfortunately, nothing is free.


I have to second this idea, or something similar. It would help to alleviate the tendency to vote for "bread and circuses". Though you would have to figure out a way not to penalize those who aren't living on the welfare system - this would be difficult to apply fairly I suppose.

It probably shouldn't be about who paid or did not pay taxes...
If a system like that was implemented, the requirement should be that you properly filed your taxes, and if you didn't actually pay the government any money, that doesn't mean you can't vote.

I see no reason to exclude people who don't make enough money to be taxed.
There's also another problem... so called 'tax protesters' who refuse to pay taxes based on moral/political decisions... should they still be allowed to vote? They surely have strong opinions that they want heard at the voting booth.

When I said everyone should be able to vote, I meant everyone. There should be poll stations at prisons as well. If a convict is a citizen who can pass the test, he/she can vote too.
Bannik wrote:


Quote:

Requirement 2: You must pass the test.
While I support equal rights for everyone, I do not think that the mentally handicapped or the simply stupid should be deciding the course of the nation.


agreed but what about the old, if you are too young too vote can you also be too old to vote? and what about dyslexic people who cannot do maths, would they be allowed calculators?

As I said, there would be no age requirement at all. If you have been issued a birth certificate, but haven't been issued a death certificate yet, you are eligible (to prove that your are a citizen and take the test).

People with specific disabilities that would make test-taking difficult, but which do not cloud their judgment on political issues would be a unique problem.
There would have to be a special channel to work them through...
Something like this, I suppose:
1: Get diagnosed by a doctor.
2: Find your disability on a list of those which a panel of experts has determined can impede your ability to take a written test, but which does not cloud your judgment on political issues.
3: Schedule a special, in-person exam/test (administered by the government), which will verify your disability, and give you a test tailored to people with your disability.
4: After passing that test, you get a certificate which gives you permanent voting rights, so you don't have to re-take the in-person test next election.
Bannik wrote:

Quote:


*This test would not be exclusionary- it would be easy to pass, and if you fail it you should be able to pass it easily next time if you take the time to learn and study a little.


so its easy but its not? kinda seems pointless if i can retake it, there should be a new test every 3 months so that people wont recopy it

It wouldn't have to be changed every three months! It would only need a change every 2 years. There would be a new version of the test for each election. Helping to reduce cheating.
Bannik wrote:
, read up on the life in uk test, in the uk we have too do a test too prove how well we know England, if you pass you can apply for naturalization then passport BUT its is faulty as basically anyone can pass, i know because i have met people who dont even know what PM stands for in the parliament but still pass the test, because people have a book called "how to pass the life in the uk test" lol

People studying for the test without actually learning anything would be a problem.
This can be helped a little by having a well-designed test, which is different for every election, and by having a well designed information book to study. That wouldn't eliminate the problem though.
There will always be some ignorant, stupid, and uninformed voters that manage to slip through the system, but the test should be able to eliminate a lot of them, encouraging those people to become knowledgeable, smart, and informed.
Bannik wrote:

Quote:
*This test would also not attempt to bias the answers in order to exclude voters who believe differently on controversial issues.


so can I answer GOD as the answer too all my questions. i am not wrong

No you can't!
The first president was not GOD.
The largest of THESE objects is not GOD (God is not one of the 4 choices.)
GOD is not the next thing in the sequence A, C, E, G, ___.

One point of these questions is that the answers are indisputable, and should be known to pretty much everybody.
That's why, "what created the Earth?" would never be one of the questions.
Bannik wrote:

Quote:

*It would be graded on a curve: if less than 70% of people pass it, the passing score will be lowered to allow more to pass. If more than 70% pass it, the standards will NOT be raised. Excluding the worst 30% is not the point.


not going too work

Why not?
Bannik wrote:

take these questions and go outside too the streets and ask random people, i will be very surprised by the outcome of those answers, and so will you

Of course. That's the whole purpose of the test.
There's a disturbingly large portion of the voting population who would fail this test horribly.
The reason for this test is to give those people a reason to actually learn what they are voting about, saving the country from being ruled by the ignorant.
Bannik wrote:

Quote:
-Who is the lead singer of Metallica?
(excludes anyone who doesn't listen to or care about that kind of music, particularly other ethnicities.)

what if i don't care about anything that happend past 1960s??/

sry couldn't go through it all have too leave in a hurry

That's why that question was on the 'bad questions' list.
That's an example of a question that couldn't be on the test, for much the same reason as you gave.
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Well, when I said every citizen, I meant it. If you can pass the voting test when you're 4 years old, you can vote when you're 4. If your newborn infant is a genius and can already pass the test when 5 days old, he/she can vote too.
I don't think that would be practically feasible, considering that you would have to carry them to the voting booths and show them how everything works.

If they can't even so much as crawl to the booth, they probably can't pass the test. And if somebody has to carry them, why not? What about physically disabled people? Would they also be excluded because they need help to get there?
Everybody has to figure out how it works sooner or later. If they can't figure out how to use the voting booth, they probably can't figure out how to pass the test either.
miacps
I think having a "voter eligibility" test is a bad idea and will needlessly complicate matters.

I also am strongly against minors being able to vote even if they are able to pass a test. Say some couple has a dozen or so reasonably bright children. Their children pass the test and suddenly due to the parental influence, what would be 2 votes for a particular candidate turns into 14. How in the world is this fair? If minors are unable to consent to sex, how in the world could they make their own decision about what candidate to choose?

deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
The 'none of the above' option

On any ballot where you're voting for people to take office, there must always be a 'none of the above' option.
If more than 50% choose the 'none of the above' option, then the vote must be re-started from the beginning, with new candidates. The purpose of this is to make voting about choosing what you want, not choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils.
This is a brilliant suggestion Ocalhoun, and I really like it. I wonder how the Presidential election would have looked like if that option had been available. I personally would have voted "none of the above". Bush, most certainly would not have been voted in during his first election, that was an election that really went wrong.


I also wanted to address this; there already exists a none of the above option. You simply don't bubble in anyone from a particular category and no one gets the vote. For some reason, a lot of people are unaware of this, my own sister included.. Rolling Eyes
Stubru Freak
A knowledge test is useless, knowledge in general has nothing to do with political knowledge. And you can't test political knowledge without being biased.

Additionally, I don't really care who the first president of the United States was, or who the US declared independence from. However I still think I know enough about American politics to make a well-informed vote.
deanhills
Stubru Freak wrote:
A knowledge test is useless, knowledge in general has nothing to do with political knowledge. And you can't test political knowledge without being biased.
To vote one has to have a certain degree of knowledge, it does not have to be on the high-end, it just has to exlude those who cannot make informed decisions because they do not know the basics about the country and its political process. A test would be good for that.
ocalhoun
miacps wrote:

I also am strongly against minors being able to vote even if they are able to pass a test. Say some couple has a dozen or so reasonably bright children. Their children pass the test and suddenly due to the parental influence, what would be 2 votes for a particular candidate turns into 14. How in the world is this fair? If minors are unable to consent to sex, how in the world could they make their own decision about what candidate to choose?

Parental influence cannot be avoided. Children will usually vote the same way their parents do. This is true if the children are 5 or 25.
The best we can do is make sure voting is anonymous, so parents can't check to see how their children voted, and to make sure that all voters are mentally capable.
miacps wrote:


I also wanted to address this; there already exists a none of the above option. You simply don't bubble in anyone from a particular category and no one gets the vote. For some reason, a lot of people are unaware of this, my own sister included.. Rolling Eyes

There is one big difference there:
Simply not filling in any of the bubbles will not force a new election, no matter how many people do it.
This isn't an "I don't care" option. It is definitively saying "I don't want any of these people in office! Give me new choices."
Stubru Freak wrote:
A knowledge test is useless, knowledge in general has nothing to do with political knowledge. And you can't test political knowledge without being biased.

I think you can. You can do so with questions about undisputed historical fact, and questions about how the system works.
Stubru Freak wrote:

Additionally, I don't really care who the first president of the United States was, or who the US declared independence from. However I still think I know enough about American politics to make a well-informed vote.

So, you want to decide the future of the country, but you don't care at all about its past...
Is it really that wrong to expect you to learn a little bit of the nations past before deciding its future?
Stubru Freak
ocalhoun wrote:
miacps wrote:

I also am strongly against minors being able to vote even if they are able to pass a test. Say some couple has a dozen or so reasonably bright children. Their children pass the test and suddenly due to the parental influence, what would be 2 votes for a particular candidate turns into 14. How in the world is this fair? If minors are unable to consent to sex, how in the world could they make their own decision about what candidate to choose?

Parental influence cannot be avoided. Children will usually vote the same way their parents do. This is true if the children are 5 or 25.
The best we can do is make sure voting is anonymous, so parents can't check to see how their children voted, and to make sure that all voters are mentally capable.
miacps wrote:


I also wanted to address this; there already exists a none of the above option. You simply don't bubble in anyone from a particular category and no one gets the vote. For some reason, a lot of people are unaware of this, my own sister included.. Rolling Eyes

There is one big difference there:
Simply not filling in any of the bubbles will not force a new election, no matter how many people do it.
This isn't an "I don't care" option. It is definitively saying "I don't want any of these people in office! Give me new choices."
Stubru Freak wrote:
A knowledge test is useless, knowledge in general has nothing to do with political knowledge. And you can't test political knowledge without being biased.

I think you can. You can do so with questions about undisputed historical fact, and questions about how the system works.
Stubru Freak wrote:

Additionally, I don't really care who the first president of the United States was, or who the US declared independence from. However I still think I know enough about American politics to make a well-informed vote.

So, you want to decide the future of the country, but you don't care at all about its past...
Is it really that wrong to expect you to learn a little bit of the nations past before deciding its future?


It isn't wrong, but I just don't see why voting requires knowing the name of the first president. You could say it requires knowing about the political past. Not the names of presidents, but their policies. But such a test would always be biased.
And I said this:
Stubru Freak wrote:
A knowledge test is useless, knowledge in general has nothing to do with political knowledge. And you can't test political knowledge without being biased.

You are right that you can test general knowledge about historical facts. But not political knowledge. Asking a question about a policy or a president from the past (except for his name, which is, as I said above, not that useful) always creates a bias. Sometimes a positive bias, sometimes a negative one, but always a bias.
deanhills
Stubru Freak wrote:
You are right that you can test general knowledge about historical facts. But not political knowledge. Asking a question about a policy or a president from the past (except for his name, which is, as I said above, not that useful) always creates a bias. Sometimes a positive bias, sometimes a negative one, but always a bias.
I did not think that Ocalhoun meant political knowledge, however for me, it would be at least important that the candidates should know who they are voting for, otherwise it would be something of a lottery, instead of an election Smile In addition to the voting eligibility test, there should also be some test perhaps just before the vote is cast, to check that the person has at least an idea for who they are voting for. It should be very basic and simple, such as which State is X from.

Maybe it could be the same as when we are doing our learner's driver license test with a touch screen. The first couple of screens could ask very simple questions that are common knowledge to even the most unenligtened person and would verify that the person at least has an idea of whom they are voting for. Then after the two screens, there could be a touch screen for casting the vote. To make it fair, if they should have their answer for any of the two first screens wrong, they could get a second chance, and if they flunk the second chance, then be ineligible for voting.
Stubru Freak
deanhills wrote:
Stubru Freak wrote:
You are right that you can test general knowledge about historical facts. But not political knowledge. Asking a question about a policy or a president from the past (except for his name, which is, as I said above, not that useful) always creates a bias. Sometimes a positive bias, sometimes a negative one, but always a bias.
I did not think that Ocalhoun meant political knowledge, however for me, it would be at least important that the candidates should know who they are voting for, otherwise it would be something of a lottery, instead of an election Smile In addition to the voting eligibility test, there should also be some test perhaps just before the vote is cast, to check that the person has at least an idea for who they are voting for. It should be very basic and simple, such as which State is X from.

Maybe it could be the same as when we are doing our learner's driver license test with a touch screen. The first couple of screens could ask very simple questions that are common knowledge to even the most unenligtened person and would verify that the person at least has an idea of whom they are voting for. Then after the two screens, there could be a touch screen for casting the vote. To make it fair, if they should have their answer for any of the two first screens wrong, they could get a second chance, and if they flunk the second chance, then be ineligible for voting.


What I'm trying to say is this:
There are two kinds of questions:
- Political questions are always biased.
- General knowledge questions have nothing to do with an election. For example, I can imagine a mentally handicapped person, who doesn't have a lot of common historical knowledge because he hasn't been to a normal school. Instead, his school focused on things that are important for him now. And before the elections the school gave a class about what parties exist and what they stand for. That person should have the right to vote. Otherwise, in no time, we'll be back in Nazi Germany where mentally handicapped people were gassed.
miacps
ocalhoun wrote:
miacps wrote:

I also am strongly against minors being able to vote even if they are able to pass a test. Say some couple has a dozen or so reasonably bright children. Their children pass the test and suddenly due to the parental influence, what would be 2 votes for a particular candidate turns into 14. How in the world is this fair? If minors are unable to consent to sex, how in the world could they make their own decision about what candidate to choose?

Parental influence cannot be avoided. Children will usually vote the same way their parents do. This is true if the children are 5 or 25.
The best we can do is make sure voting is anonymous, so parents can't check to see how their children voted, and to make sure that all voters are mentally capable.


You're giving the bigger families all the voting power in this scenario.

I have to disagree about parents voting the same as their adult children. I voted differently from my father in the Kerry/Bush election and my two cousins voted differently from their parents in this last election. Of course the difference was that we weren't minors. Minors simply do not have enough real world experience to make these kinds of decisions. They are almost certain to vote in the same way as their parents through parental influence alone.

ocalhoun wrote:
miacps wrote:
I also wanted to address this; there already exists a none of the above option. You simply don't bubble in anyone from a particular category and no one gets the vote. For some reason, a lot of people are unaware of this, my own sister included.. Rolling Eyes

There is one big difference there:
Simply not filling in any of the bubbles will not force a new election, no matter how many people do it.
This isn't an "I don't care" option. It is definitively saying "I don't want any of these people in office! Give me new choices."


There are still some problems with the option. In the event that a president starts serving more than his four year term, what do you propose happens? I see potential for abuse with this option. The majority would be able to keep their preferred candidate elected indefinitely and in the event of massive government corruption, we're looking at a monarchy via technicality.

Not that massive government corruption would be riding on this alone, but it would certainly be a useful tool to get their foot in the door while having an outward appearance of democracy.

Your best bet in the event of shitty president has always been to push for impeachment. Or you know... that other thing. Shocked
deanhills
Stubru Freak wrote:
What I'm trying to say is this:
There are two kinds of questions:
- Political questions are always biased.
- General knowledge questions have nothing to do with an election. For example, I can imagine a mentally handicapped person, who doesn't have a lot of common historical knowledge because he hasn't been to a normal school. Instead, his school focused on things that are important for him now. And before the elections the school gave a class about what parties exist and what they stand for. That person should have the right to vote. Otherwise, in no time, we'll be back in Nazi Germany where mentally handicapped people were gassed.
I think we all are basically in agreement. Think where I differ in your point above however is that general knowledge could show that a person has some knowledge about the poltiical system, without having to be biased. It obviously needs to be very general and basic questions, and I think that is what Ocalhoun also said. For example: "Who is the President of the United States"? is a political question, but also a general knowledge and basic question, most people would know who it is, and if not, probably should not be voting. Otherwise that would be like a lottery. Smile
Stubru Freak
deanhills wrote:
Stubru Freak wrote:
What I'm trying to say is this:
There are two kinds of questions:
- Political questions are always biased.
- General knowledge questions have nothing to do with an election. For example, I can imagine a mentally handicapped person, who doesn't have a lot of common historical knowledge because he hasn't been to a normal school. Instead, his school focused on things that are important for him now. And before the elections the school gave a class about what parties exist and what they stand for. That person should have the right to vote. Otherwise, in no time, we'll be back in Nazi Germany where mentally handicapped people were gassed.
I think we all are basically in agreement. Think where I differ in your point above however is that general knowledge could show that a person has some knowledge about the poltiical system, without having to be biased. It obviously needs to be very general and basic questions, and I think that is what Ocalhoun also said. For example: "Who is the President of the United States"? is a political question, but also a general knowledge and basic question, most people would know who it is, and if not, probably should not be voting. Otherwise that would be like a lottery. Smile


"Who is the president of the United States?" would be acceptable, but I'll bet that people who don't know that one won't take the effort to vote. They probably don't cast more than 0,001% of the votes. So asking that question takes a lot of effort, from the public and from the people who organise the election, for a really small gain.
Once the question gets more complicated, like "What party currently has the majority in the Senate?", you start to have a bias. For example, during the Obama campaign, it was shown that most people that are not sure will say the party they don't vote for has the majority. Probably because the last piece of regulation they strongly opposed was passed by that party, in another institution (the president, the state government, ...). So people who vote against the current party are more likely to answer that question correctly.
And as I said above, it's not because you're mentally handicapped that you're not able to make an informed decision. So only political questions should be asked, because they're the only thing that matters.
deanhills
[quote="Stubru Freak"]"Who is the president of the United States?" would be acceptable, but I'll bet that people who don't know that one won't take the effort to vote. They probably don't cast more than 0,001% of the votes. So asking that question takes a lot of effort, from the public and from the people who organise the election, for a really small gain.
Quote:
How about those huge numbers of pensioners, or disabled or eldery people who are taken to the voting polls by party campaigners and manipulated who to vote for?
[quote="Stubru Freak"]Once the question gets more complicated, like "What party currently has the majority in the Senate?", you start to have a bias. For example, during the Obama campaign, it was shown that most people that are not sure will say the party they don't vote for has the majority. Probably because the last piece of regulation they strongly opposed was passed by that party, in another institution (the president, the state government, ...). So people who vote against the current party are more likely to answer that question correctly.
Totally agreed. It also changes all the time and there may be conflicting points of view about it, so it would not be a good measure of basic knowledge. For example, another very simple question could be a map of the United States and asking where the State Capital is with two choices, Washington State, or Washington DC. It would be obvious from the map that it could not be Washington state, to begin with, and a very easy question to answer. It would show that the person is literate (i.e. can read the question), and very basic knowledge of American geography.
Stubru Freak
deanhills wrote:
Stubru Freak wrote:
"Who is the president of the United States?" would be acceptable, but I'll bet that people who don't know that one won't take the effort to vote. They probably don't cast more than 0,001% of the votes. So asking that question takes a lot of effort, from the public and from the people who organise the election, for a really small gain.
How about those huge numbers of pensioners, or disabled or eldery people who are taken to the voting polls by party campaigners and manipulated who to vote for?


I think that when you don't even know the president or the capital, you won't take the effort to vote, even when a party campaigner wants you to.
deanhills
Stubru Freak wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Stubru Freak wrote:
"Who is the president of the United States?" would be acceptable, but I'll bet that people who don't know that one won't take the effort to vote. They probably don't cast more than 0,001% of the votes. So asking that question takes a lot of effort, from the public and from the people who organise the election, for a really small gain.
How about those huge numbers of pensioners, or disabled or eldery people who are taken to the voting polls by party campaigners and manipulated who to vote for?


I think that when you don't even know the president or the capital, you won't take the effort to vote, even when a party campaigner wants you to.
I'm talking about people who are trying to inflate the voters by artificial means, i.e. recruit people who may otherwise not have voted, or are disinterested (as per your category) to get them to vote in a certain way.
Stubru Freak
deanhills wrote:
Stubru Freak wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Stubru Freak wrote:
"Who is the president of the United States?" would be acceptable, but I'll bet that people who don't know that one won't take the effort to vote. They probably don't cast more than 0,001% of the votes. So asking that question takes a lot of effort, from the public and from the people who organise the election, for a really small gain.
How about those huge numbers of pensioners, or disabled or eldery people who are taken to the voting polls by party campaigners and manipulated who to vote for?


I think that when you don't even know the president or the capital, you won't take the effort to vote, even when a party campaigner wants you to.
I'm talking about people who are trying to inflate the voters by artificial means, i.e. recruit people who may otherwise not have voted, or are disinterested (as per your category) to get them to vote in a certain way.


Maybe it would be a good idea just to eliminate those people. But still, disallowing these people to vote is a bad precedent. It's only a short step to make the questions a little harder so only smart people can vote.
ocalhoun
Stubru Freak wrote:

I think that when you don't even know the president or the capital, you won't take the effort to vote, even when a party campaigner wants you to.


That's where you are wrong... These people are not a minority, they are the majority, and they vote all the time...

They vote for simple reasons... Maybe they always vote for that party, every election, just as they have for the last 40 years... Maybe they saw a TV ad that said the other candidate was evil... But they all end up going to the polls and voting, without knowing hardly anything about what they're voting for.

Yes, it is extremely difficult to test current political knowledge without bias, but something needs to be done to promote informed, educated voters. Otherwise, ignorant voters will be the death of the country.


And about the 'none of the above' option extending term limits...
Yes, that might happen. However, I would prefer to risk keeping an extremely popular president in office a little longer, rather than forcing the election of someone voted in just because he wasn't quite as awful as the other guy.

Given this concern, it probably would be good to put an extra line into the law, making it so that there can only be a limited number of re-try's of the election... That, say, the 5th re-do is final, with no 'none of the above' option. That would limit the harm that could occur.
Bannik
see the main problems i get from this is.

when you mentioned people with dyslexia need too go through too get permission is too much, some people dont have the luxury too always see the doctor, some people work all the time and need all the time off for themselves, it would scare a lot of people away and this applies too anyone with any medical condition.

think about couldnt I say that people who have a fever and a cold are not allowed too vote as technically their not in the right state of mind.

what about people who take drugs FOR example marijuana, would that mean that everyone also needs too take a drug test before voting. even for medical purposes, would someone with cancer be excluded from voting? (this brings up a whole other issue, if you say yes they are you are basically saying drugs have no impact on your mind and judgment)

I like your idea it has heart you are trying too get all the most logically sound people too vote for the country but you are excluding a lot of people as well.

what about hard working americans who lacked eductation.

you are basically saying "let the rich and smart decide for you" sure you make it sound like only the smart folks will make the right decision but more then half the time the smart folks are the rich or those who had a much richer background.

also you make it sound like you want "true" americans to vote but what about people with duel citezenship they are american but they also dont consider themselves american so you cant exactly assume they actually care about american politics (i am not saying they dont care but i am sure a big number doesnt give a monkeys toe about it)
deanhills
Bannik wrote:
what about hard working americans who lacked eductation.

you are basically saying "let the rich and smart decide for you" sure you make it sound like only the smart folks will make the right decision but more then half the time the smart folks are the rich or those who had a much richer background.
Bannik. Did you really read Ocalhoun's suggestion properly? As the test Ocalhoun is proposing is a very basic test for everyone, not only for intelligent and rich people. Basic questions such as who is the President of the United States?
ocalhoun
Bannik wrote:
see the main problems i get from this is.

when you mentioned people with dyslexia need too go through too get permission is too much, some people dont have the luxury too always see the doctor, some people work all the time and need all the time off for themselves, it would scare a lot of people away and this applies too anyone with any medical condition.

Not 'anyone with any medical condition'!
Non-mental medical problems would not affect voting at all, because they could still pass the test just fine.
Mental medical problems would fall into two categores:
1: Makes them fail the test.
2: Can pass the test anyway.
It would not affect category 2, there.
Out of category 1, there would be two more categories:
1a: can't pass written test, but have sound judgment
1b: can't pass written test, and do NOT have sound judgment.
The purpose of the process I described is to determine which people are in 1a, and which are in 1b. If you aren't in category 1 to begin with, you don't have to worry about that process at all.
Quote:

think about couldnt I say that people who have a fever and a cold are not allowed too vote as technically their not in the right state of mind.

If they can pass the test, that also proves that they are in 'the right state of mind'... at least close enough to it to vote intelligently. If they can't pass the test, they're not mentally fit to vote... better luck next election.
Quote:

what about people who take drugs FOR example marijuana, would that mean that everyone also needs too take a drug test before voting. even for medical purposes, would someone with cancer be excluded from voting? (this brings up a whole other issue, if you say yes they are you are basically saying drugs have no impact on your mind and judgment)

If you can pass the test while on drugs, you can vote while on drugs. Simple.
Quote:

I like your idea it has heart you are trying too get all the most logically sound people too vote for the country but you are excluding a lot of people as well.

A lot of people deserve to be excluded. Hopefully, these people would take the trouble to educate themselves, so they can understand the election, pass the test, and get their vote counted.
The purpose is not exclusion; the purpose is encouraging self-improvement of ignorant voters.
Quote:

what about hard working americans who lacked eductation.

They can get the booklet, learn about history, the world, and the kind of intelligence tests that will be on the test, then they should be able to pass the test.

Supposing that their level of education was so bad that they couldn't even read, they would need to seek out a charity organization or friend who will teach them... Perhaps schools could also offer government-sponsored night classes on basic reading if interest is high.

Your ability to vote would not be based on how hard you worked, but your ability to understand what you were voting for... Tragically, many are undereducated and probably don't understand this, which is what this system is there to fix. Better to bar them from an election and encourage them to become educated than to trust the decision to those who 'lack education'.
Quote:

you are basically saying "let the rich and smart decide for you" sure you make it sound like only the smart folks will make the right decision but more then half the time the smart folks are the rich or those who had a much richer background.

No, I'm saying 'let the smart decide for you'... (Smart meaning the top 70% OR anybody who can pass the test with a 70%, whichever is greater.) Being rich or poor has nothing to do with it.
Quote:

also you make it sound like you want "true" americans to vote but what about people with duel citezenship they are american but they also dont consider themselves american so you cant exactly assume they actually care about american politics (i am not saying they dont care but i am sure a big number doesnt give a monkeys toe about it)

1: If they are an American citizen, they can vote. If they are dual citizenship American/Something else... they can use their American citizenship to vote.
2: If they don't care about American politics, why are they trying to vote?
Bannik
Quote:
Not 'anyone with any medical condition'!
Non-mental medical problems would not affect voting at all, because they could still pass the test just fine.


YES but some conditions do affect your state of mind but only during the period of infection for example having a cold can be considered something that affects your judgment so does that mean that on the day of the vote people who are sick n the day cannot vote?


Quote:
If they can pass the test, that also proves that they are in 'the right state of mind'... at least close enough to it to vote intelligently. If they can't pass the test, they're not mentally fit to vote... better luck next election.


YES BUT like i said what if they passed the test but on the day of the election they got sick, what then. what if someone drinks then votes? or smokes marijuana and votes on the day? i am sure you dont mean too have a test DURING the voting day cause seriously no one would vote, its the same as people not wanting too see the doctor during every little infection as it waste time.


Quote:

If you can pass the test while on drugs, you can vote while on drugs. Simple.


please read previous/


Quote:
A lot of people deserve to be excluded. Hopefully, these people would take the trouble to educate themselves, so they can understand the election, pass the test, and get their vote counted.
The purpose is not exclusion; the purpose is encouraging self-improvement of ignorant voters.


define self-improvement - do you mean people who lack education are not contributing members of society who should be allowed too vote?

Quote:
They can get the booklet, learn about history, the world, and the kind of intelligence tests that will be on the test, then they should be able to pass the test.


why should they take it, why should they educate themselves if he is happy the way he is? why are you so keen too change them.

Quote:

Supposing that their level of education was so bad that they couldn't even read, they would need to seek out a charity organization or friend who will teach them... Perhaps schools could also offer government-sponsored night classes on basic reading if interest is high.


getting very expensive and time consuming.




Quote:
No, I'm saying 'let the smart decide for you'... (Smart meaning the top 70% OR anybody who can pass the test with a 70%, whichever is greater.) Being rich or poor has nothing to do with it.


the poor are less likely too study for a test so that they can vote, the poor are less likely too get a higher education, the poor are more likely too get a criminal record, the poor are more likely too do drugs, etc the rich = intelligent the poor = dumb, i am not saying all poor people are dumb its just that they are more then likely too have less education then the rich so they are more likely too be poor and the fact that they are most probably in full time work with minimum wage and a prick of a boss they are unlikely too take the only time they have too relax to take exams for voting.
ocalhoun
Bannik wrote:
Quote:
Not 'anyone with any medical condition'!
Non-mental medical problems would not affect voting at all, because they could still pass the test just fine.


YES but some conditions do affect your state of mind but only during the period of infection for example having a cold can be considered something that affects your judgment so does that mean that on the day of the vote people who are sick n the day cannot vote?

Again, if they can pass the test while they have a cold, then they can vote with a cold.

Bannik wrote:

Quote:
If they can pass the test, that also proves that they are in 'the right state of mind'... at least close enough to it to vote intelligently. If they can't pass the test, they're not mentally fit to vote... better luck next election.


YES BUT like i said what if they passed the test but on the day of the election they got sick, what then. what if someone drinks then votes? or smokes marijuana and votes on the day? i am sure you dont mean too have a test DURING the voting day cause seriously no one would vote, its the same as people not wanting too see the doctor during every little infection as it waste time.

Ah, I see the problem here, our miscommunication.

The test would be administered immediately before voting. You would finish the test, then walk across the room to the voting booth. No time to get sick, drunk, or high in between. You would vote and take the test in exactly the same mental state.
Bannik wrote:


Quote:

If you can pass the test while on drugs, you can vote while on drugs. Simple.


please read previous/

please read previous/
I think I cleared up that misunderstanding.
Bannik wrote:


Quote:
A lot of people deserve to be excluded. Hopefully, these people would take the trouble to educate themselves, so they can understand the election, pass the test, and get their vote counted.
The purpose is not exclusion; the purpose is encouraging self-improvement of ignorant voters.


define self-improvement - do you mean people who lack education are not contributing members of society who should be allowed too vote?

They are contributing members of society, but if they don't understand what they're voting about, they shouldn't be voting.
Bannik wrote:

Quote:
They can get the booklet, learn about history, the world, and the kind of intelligence tests that will be on the test, then they should be able to pass the test.


why should they take it, why should they educate themselves if he is happy the way he is? why are you so keen too change them.

Why should they educate themselves if they are happy the way they are? They have to if they want to vote. If they don't want to vote, they can stay blissfully ignorant.
Why so keen to change them? Because the ignorant voter is the eventual death of Democracy, its biggest flaw. When ignorant, stupid, or simply uneducated people vote, they base their decisions on the wrong things... which candidate they like the looks of better, which makes better speeches, which one looked less evil in campaign ads...

Chillingly, the taller candidate will win about 80% of the time...
Are taller politicians really better for the country than short ones?
Bannik wrote:

Quote:

Supposing that their level of education was so bad that they couldn't even read, they would need to seek out a charity organization or friend who will teach them... Perhaps schools could also offer government-sponsored night classes on basic reading if interest is high.


getting very expensive and time consuming.



Promoting adult literacy is expensive and time consuming... But it is very worthwhile.
Think how awful life must be for an adult who can't read... they can't improve themselves, they can't get good jobs, they can't even use the internet or a computer well. What bright future does a person like that have to look forward to?
Bannik wrote:


Quote:
No, I'm saying 'let the smart decide for you'... (Smart meaning the top 70% OR anybody who can pass the test with a 70%, whichever is greater.) Being rich or poor has nothing to do with it.


the poor are less likely too study for a test so that they can vote, the poor are less likely too get a higher education, the poor are more likely too get a criminal record, the poor are more likely too do drugs, etc the rich = intelligent the poor = dumb, i am not saying all poor people are dumb its just that they are more then likely too have less education then the rich so they are more likely too be poor and the fact that they are most probably in full time work with minimum wage and a prick of a boss they are unlikely too take the only time they have too relax to take exams for voting.


Yes, a disproportionate amount of the people who need improvement before they can vote will be poor... which is unfortunate for them.
This would hurt poor people. But, more importantly, it would help the entire country, and in the long term, it would help many of those poor people better themselves.

I can't watch the entire country be run into the ground by popularity-contest elections just because I am afraid of disproportionally hurting poor people.
lagoon
Would this idea not run poll turnout into the ground? Democracy would be at an all time low.
deanhills
lagoon wrote:
Would this idea not run poll turnout into the ground? Democracy would be at an all time low.
I would have thought it to be just the other way round. As democracy right now seems to be a one-moment event. People vote, and then withdraw, allowing others to run everything. So now they get to participate and there are stakes that are set for them. People always seem to want to get involved in something that they have to fight a little for. So once they have qualified, they may want to know more. I think democracy would become more real and more meaningful.
Afaceinthematrix
I've been saying this for years! I've always said that there's nothing magical about the age of 18. Just because you wake up on your 18th birthday doesn't mean you'll automatically be informed enough to vote and just because you're only 16 doesn't mean that you wouldn't be able to make an informed decision. Your whole idea is pretty much exactly what I've been saying for years.

The only difference is that I think the test should be a bit harder (I got everyone of your "acceptable" questions correct, and ever 2 out of 3 of the "unacceptable questions" (I do not know the exact date that the American Civil \War ended - just the year)). So I think the test should be harder and maybe there should be an essay question in it.
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
So I think the test should be harder and maybe there should be an essay question in it.

There's an infinitely adjustible degree of difficulty you could put into the test... a lot of analysis and testing the test would have to be put into making it just the right difficulty.
An essay question would be nice, but it's logistically impossible. It would have to be tediously graded by real people, and in addition to being time-consuming and expensive, that adds a big window for bias to enter the grading.
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