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Voting tests: what do you think?


laripu
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Some on both the left and the right have called for a test to determine whether someone has the right to vote. It would be something similar to a citizenship test, and I imagine administered a year before a presidential election.

 

And by the way, just prior to becoming a citizen in 2006, my wife I took the citizenship test. You have to get at least 60% and they keep asking questions until you do. Both my wife and I were correct on 6 questions in a row, and then they stopped. (Note: English is not my wife's first language; she's originally from Germany, and speaks English well, but with an accent. One of my questions was to name the original 13 states. I got it right because i studied, but I'm not sure I could still get it right now.)

 

Such a test would certainly be undemocratic. It would disenfranchise people who were functional illiterates. In many cases, those are the poorest people.

 

People who had time to study for the test, and had normal intelligence or better, would likely pass, but people with no time to study because of work and family obligations might fail. Blind people might have a harder time. Recent immigrants whose first language is not English would have a harder time, might fail.

 

Here are sample questions:

“If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?”
“There were 13 original states. Name three.”
“What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?”
“What is freedom of religion?”
On the whole, I'm against it. What do you think?
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IMO, A citizenship test is valid even though many US citizens couldn't pass it cold, because it forces applicants to familiarize themselves with American history and values. Naturally, retention fades over time. It seems more than fair to pass an applicant after 6 correct answers with ?unlimited? tries.

 

But requiring citizens to be tested for the right to vote? No way. The potential for partisan abuse is too high.

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I am opposed to the test. While I can see myself pushing for the question: Do you regularly watch Fox News, and if they answer yes, being immediately disqualified. When the GOP puts up the questions, they could simply ask, are you going to vote for the GOP candidate? and if no, being immediately disqualified,

 

I would rather all citizens get to vote, including felons.

 

With that said, you cannot have a democracy without an informed populace, so some education is required, which is why I support public schools.

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There's too much potential for abuse. It sounds like a good idea in theory, but in the end too many politicians would use it to try to disenfranchise voters that might vote against them.

I do think that US Government/Civics should be a required course in high school. In many places it's not. Of course maybe I'm a little biased because I teach US History and Government. But I remember a student from another state who i used to talk with telling me that his guidance counselor told him not to take US Government because he wouldn't need it. It's not a required course in many places, and it absolutely should be.

 

I can pass a citizenship test with ease, and so can most of my students. In fact I even test them on the preamble to the constitution every year.

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When I was a kid, there was a test on the Constitution that we were required to take and pass in order to graduate grade school. (8th grade). Civics was a required class in my grade school, as was US History. I still support that curriculum, though it needs to make sure to include the bad with the good, and not just highlight history as seen through the eyes of white men.

 

However, I do not agree with this test. It is undemocratic at the very best. I'd have to see whether or not it would be constitutional.

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silly me, I would have passed that test in Junior high easily. Of course I am surprised most might not, who would not be? That doesn't make me more American than the next however, nope.

 

But it is a tiny framework, a parchment paper used in the baking of history I do suppose. If you read the news, or if you think about a story a bit, you might remember it later on. It does not take a genius to grasp the complexity of most human events. Like you mentioned Laripu, you came from somewhere else and quickly caught up with a few common threads most should know. Evil Ferret made a great point in the post before me too. Divides in this country, oh you bet there were and still are... Yes, still there are a lot of native americans in places most people never go, sure, they travel past on the highways, see some of the sights, but to them, those parcels of land (if you will) are just places, the understanding of history that is true is vanishing, almost like the ice flows in Greenland, almost overnight.

 

 

I thought Nixon was a good guy in 1968 too back when I was seven.

 

Peace!

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when I came to California where I live now I came for the hope of a dream

a fulfilling hope that if you worked hard no matter what it was you did you might

find something someday you really like to do that makes hard work become a joy

 

like you could want to work hard all your life, but not for money, you wanted

to feel minutes hours days weeks years seem like they were never enough

and you would want to work late in life because you truly loved to do so

 

I was at first very much amazed at the true beauty of this land and I wanted to learn

all I could about its history, its journey over time

 

I wanted to be like Muir an explorer who I never knew

 

or poet like Frost

 

or just an ordinary techie fighting for ideas without losing

my ideals from where I came

 

 

This is a beautiful country you must know.

Climb on, climb up high and look down below.

It becomes vastly more than enough, the more

that you know, the more that you see with your

truest eye.

 

Peace!

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