Should Irresponsible People Be Allowed to Vote?

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On CNN, an opinion piece asks, “Should Ignorant People Be Allowed to Vote?

I don’t think ignorance really matters. I do, however, think responsibility does. After all, someone who is responsible for something, and interested in it being successful, will educate themselves to the point where they are not ignorant on the matter.

It used to be, a very long time ago, that only landowners could vote. The reasoning was that they were the only people interested in seeing good government, because they were the only people who could not easily flee a bad government. This seemed to work out, for the most part, fairly well, although the poorer class of people had no suffrage. However, in a way they did at least have representation. That’s because the landowners needed the poor people to work their land or pay their rent. So they benefited when the poor benefited. Landowners also like to see their property values rise, and this only happens when more money enters the land market, and the best way to see that happen is have the poor graduate to the middle class.

Then we went to universal suffrage for men, and then women, and now everyone over the age of 18 (which some still consider children.)

I think it would be nice if we could somehow measure how invested an individual is in the outcome of the election, and weigh their vote accordingly. Landowners, business owners, and other economic participants who are genuinely trying to create wealth should take precedence over those who don’t care as much. Parents should take precedence over those who don’t have children. Those who have lived here longer should have more representation than those who are just passing through. And so on, and so forth. Of course, we should add in some method of detecting those with sinister motives. These would be people like those influenced by international powers to subvert our nation, or those who want to make a buck on the backs of others.

Such a system is impossible to administer. We have to choose between a system where only specific people can vote, or where everyone votes. We prefer the latter.

Voters must realize, and should be told, that the government they have is the government they elected. After every election, we should blame those who elected the politicians more than the politicians, and explain to the voting public that if they don’t change how they vote, then things won’t change in government. Maybe we should send an automatic reminder to voters of how they voted in the last election, and whether they feel sorry for electing the person they did. This is the kind of responsibility that comes from trying to avoid blame, and is probably the best we can get.

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