Requirements for Voting

After I wrote about the value of caucuses I found an interesting opinion on lowering the voting age.

We should hasten the enfranchisement of this generation, born between 1980 and 1995, by lowering the voting age to 16. . . 16-year-olds who want to start voting should be able to obtain an “early voting permit” from their high schools upon passing a simple civics course similar to the citizenship test. Besides increasing voter registration, this system would reinforce the notion of voting as a privilege and duty as well as a right — without imposing any across-the-board literacy tests for those over 18.

I have often contemplated what might happen if we were to require a test similar to the citizenship test to become a registered voter. Of course that will remind us of some of the Jim Crow voting laws that had to be repealed in the south. Even if nobody intended to discriminate any test would have some bias in it which makes it difficult to imagine passing such a law. I had also considered a system of preferential voting where some criteria – passing a test, or caucusing rather than simply voting – would add weight to the votes cast by those who met the criteria.

I’m wary of the idea of lowering the voting age, but I’m still interested in finding ways to increase personal investment in casting votes – to “reinforce the notion of voting as a privilege and duty as well as a right.”

There were some very enlightening responses on the topic that are also worth reading. My thoughts are definitely a work in progress – any insight or opinion is appreciated.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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Comments

4 Responses to Requirements for Voting

  1. Reach Upward says:

    Hmmm… Pass a civics class taught by a liberal teacher, and you can vote early? I don’t buy it.

  2. David says:

    In theory it would be a civics test comparable to the test for citizenship – does that have a liberal bias?

    I am still skeptical of lowering the voting age, and aware that a test would never be fully impartial, but it’s worth considering the options and implications.

  3. Walt Willis says:

    We have come far from the nation that we intended to create, and we will continue to lose our fundamental principles of self governance if we continue to allow our political leaders to make changes to our constitution.

    Every new high culture has a birth, life as well as a death.
    This nation state is no exception to that force of nature.
    History has shown us that people will self destruct by the changes they make to their constitution.

    If we return to the way of having land owners elect our leaders we may have people with a vested interest protect us from ourselves.

    Study the history of nations lost and you will see our future as a lost cause.
    Return us to the state of a democratic Republic or pay the price of a failed state.

  4. David says:

    Walt,

    Thanks for visiting. You comment seems to suggest that all change is detrimental – I don’t believe that any more than I believe that all change is good. I believe that voters should have a vested interest, but I also think that land ownership is not the only valid measure of such interest.

    I also cannot subscribe to the pessimistic view that “our future is a lost cause.” If I believed that I would move away from other people and become functionally independent while waiting for the collapse of our society. We must hope and work to improve our future by rectifying the mistakes that we have made – of course that means changing our direction back to that of a democratic republic as you said.

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