There has been much discussion about requiring a photo ID in order to verify your identity before you are allowed to cast a vote in an election. If you have been paying attention at least a little bit over the last several years you are aware of this. If not, then maybe you should be paying more attention. Alabama has instituted this requirement as law and it will be enforced during the next election coming up in a couple of months.
Many who oppose this law or requirement use the empty argument that this somehow discriminates against the poor or minorities. As a member of the white male Caucasian minority I do not see any discrimination in this requirement whatsoever. It should have been a requirement from day one in my opinion.
I suppose by this logic it is also discrimination to require a driver’s license to be able to operate a motor vehicle so we should do away with those. It is also a requirement to be able to board a plane so that is discrimination too.
Where is the outrage?
Where are the outcries for these obvious discriminations? You don’t hear any outcry for these because they do not directly relate to votes which either put people in power or keep them in power. Think about it. Is there any other logical reason that explains this claim? If so, please do let me know in the comments. I am always looking to learn something new and this would be a revelation for me.
Most people do not do the necessary research or homework about candidates or issues to be able to make an informed decision when they enter the voting booth. The sad fact is most people vote base on popularity, or how a candidate looks, or a particular party because they have always voted for that party, or the yard sign or billboard they see every day on the way to work, or what a candidate “promised” to give them – “A chicken in every pot.” That is one reason our country does not have the best leaders we could have. We do have what we deserve because of our actions or inactions or laziness in exercising our voting privilege.
We need more requirements, not less
I believe the requirements to vote and select those who make decisions that affect us all should be much more involved to show the person casting a vote at least has some knowledge of the current issues and candidates. I know this will never be enacted, based on the silly arguments and uproar over a simple photo ID, but it would produce a more informed electorate and that would, in turn, provide much more competent leaders and better decisions on the issues that come before them.
This is a test…a test to see if you are paying attention
Why not have 5-15 questions at the top of every ballot that would have to be answered correctly for the ballot to be counted? These questions could be checked by the voting machines and if not correct then that ballot would just be discarded.
The questions could be as simple as:
- Who is the current President of the United States?
Who is the current Vice-President of the United States?
Who is the Speaker of the House in the U.S. House of Representatives?
Who is the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate?
Name one Supreme Court Justice.
Name one of the U.S. Senators representing your state.
Name your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Name one of your City Councilmen.
Name one of your County Commissioners.
Name one of your school board members.
Name your mayor.
Name your state senator.
Name your state representative.
How many U.S. Senators are there in Congress?
How many state are there in the U.S.?
How would you fare if you had to answer these questions? You might be surprised at how many could not answer any of these questions correctly, yet they still vote.
It might not be easy at first but if you knew you were going to have these questions you would likely do a little homework before you headed to your local polling place, or choose to not go at all. That would be the purpose.
If you don’t care, don’t bother
If you don’t care enough to learn about the candidates and issues before you vote you should not abuse your voting privilege by casting an ignorant vote. This is where the term low-information voter came from. If low-information voters are electing our elected officials then there should be no surprise if poor or self-serving decisions are made more often than not.
These are just examples that could be used. The voter could be required to get a passing grade, 70%, or could be required to get them all correct for their ballot to be valid and counted. As I said before, I know this is not likely to ever happen.
That does not mean it should never happen. This would help eliminate the instances of people voting multiple times in the same election or votes being cast by people who are no longer living, most recently reported in North Carolina regarding the 2012 general election.
My Hope For the Future
My hope in writing this is that anyone who reads it will not be a low-information voter in the future. If you were in the past there is nothing that can be done about that. However, if you start today and take your voting privilege seriously enough to do your homework, learn about the candidates and issues that will be on the ballot, your future votes will be informed votes and that will be better for everyone.
Until next time…
Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 04/04/2014