The Fantasy of an Informed Electorate

Marc Sheppard
In his LA Times op-ed this morning, Jonah Goldberg posed an interesting question -"Immigrants have to pass a test to vote; why not all citizens?"

Jonah's text and title choice maintain that most Americans are Too uninformed to vote, having no "basic understanding of our government, its functions and its challenges."  He cites the fact that nearly half the population couldn't tell you how many senators represent their state as just one pretty scary example. 

Instead of making it easier to vote, opines Goldberg, we should actually make it harder by testing people on basic government functions.  Such,
"would point the arrow of civic engagement up, instead of down, sending the signal that becoming an informed citizen is a valued accomplishment."
Unfortunately, as rational as this all sounds, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is more real than any hope the notion might have.

For starters, such a significant alteration of our federal election system would clearly require a Constitutional amendment, which would require a two thirds majority vote in both houses.  Do the math - you'd need quite a few Democratic riders willing to hop aboard that turbulent train.

Now, consider that the National Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed literacy tests as a voting prerequisite, has been widely credited with dramatically increasing Black (read that Democrat) voter roles .

So, then -- how do you suppose Democrats, who have systematically dumbed-down everything from college entrance exams to police sergeant's tests in the name of "diversity," would respond to the idea of pre-registration civics testing?

I'm sure no one watching this morning's Washington Journal was astounded by the undoubtedly representative caller response to that query.

After reading Jonah's piece on air, C-SPAN opened the phones to the topic.  And, while virtually every Republican and every Independent agreed that such a requirement would be a fabulous method by which to increase voter awareness, I heard not a single Democrat concur. .

Not one.

You see, the Dems like an electorate with absolutely no idea what a cloture vote is just fine, thank you -- and everybody knows that's not subject to change.

And why.  
In his LA Times op-ed this morning, Jonah Goldberg posed an interesting question -"Immigrants have to pass a test to vote; why not all citizens?"

Jonah's text and title choice maintain that most Americans are Too uninformed to vote, having no "basic understanding of our government, its functions and its challenges."  He cites the fact that nearly half the population couldn't tell you how many senators represent their state as just one pretty scary example. 

Instead of making it easier to vote, opines Goldberg, we should actually make it harder by testing people on basic government functions.  Such,
"would point the arrow of civic engagement up, instead of down, sending the signal that becoming an informed citizen is a valued accomplishment."
Unfortunately, as rational as this all sounds, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is more real than any hope the notion might have.

For starters, such a significant alteration of our federal election system would clearly require a Constitutional amendment, which would require a two thirds majority vote in both houses.  Do the math - you'd need quite a few Democratic riders willing to hop aboard that turbulent train.

Now, consider that the National Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed literacy tests as a voting prerequisite, has been widely credited with dramatically increasing Black (read that Democrat) voter roles .

So, then -- how do you suppose Democrats, who have systematically dumbed-down everything from college entrance exams to police sergeant's tests in the name of "diversity," would respond to the idea of pre-registration civics testing?

I'm sure no one watching this morning's Washington Journal was astounded by the undoubtedly representative caller response to that query.

After reading Jonah's piece on air, C-SPAN opened the phones to the topic.  And, while virtually every Republican and every Independent agreed that such a requirement would be a fabulous method by which to increase voter awareness, I heard not a single Democrat concur. .

Not one.

You see, the Dems like an electorate with absolutely no idea what a cloture vote is just fine, thank you -- and everybody knows that's not subject to change.

And why.