Archives

We need a voter education exam

by Jim Longworth

We need a voter education exam

If the recent election taught us anything, it is that most people aren’t qualified to vote. For one thing, right-wing nuts like Sarah Palin (and George W. Bush before her) have succeeded in dumbing down Americans by making it chic to be ignorant. Tea partiers like Palin, Christine O’Donnell and Michelle Bachman spew all sorts of garbage, then they whine when  reporters challenge the truthfulness of their trash. Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune said these candidates feel “that the media are treating them unfairly by quoting them accurately.” Sadly, a lot of voters identify with these airhead candidates, and feel their pain when the nasty old press dares to question them.

Former CBS correspondent Terrance Smith is appalled by this phenomena, telling CNN, “The public has a right to have candidates seriously examined on their background and policies.” But even if candidates were “seriously examined,” it probably wouldn’t matter to millions of voters who routinely turn a deaf ear to facts, and instead rely on Republican talking points and Fox ranters for their news.

Case in point, during the debate on healthcare reform, Rep. Virginia Foxx announced that the Democrat plan would establish death panels to decide when elderly people should die. Foxx’s statement was not only inaccurate, it was also cruel and ludicrous, yet people believed her. In fact, pollster Cordell Belcher reports that onethird of voters in the 2010 election still believe that Obama’s healthcare plan includes death panels. If you want further proof that most voters are stupid, then ponder this conundrum: Millions of people went to the polls angry about the recession and unemployment, then voted to return Republicans to power who created the economic crisis in the first place.

As an American who reads newspapers and gathers information from myriad sources every day, I am offended by the sheer magnitude of voter stupidity in this country, so much so that I am proposing we should require every citizen to pass a test before they are allowed to vote.

As an American who reads newspapers and gathers information from myriad sources every day, I am offended by the sheer magnitude of voter stupidity in this country, so much so that I am proposing we should require every citizen to pass a test before they are allowed to vote.

Here’s how it would work.

Each state would create a standardized test called the Voter Education Exam, which would be administered in person at DMV offices for a limited period of time each year. The exam would consist of 50 multiple choice questions, half of which would focus on federal civics and half on state government. Some of the questions might include:

• Which branch of government makes laws? • Which legislative body makes treaties? • What is the term of a US congressman? • How many US senators are elected from North Carolina? • Who is the governor of North Carolina? • What state agency regulates Blue Cross/Blue Shield?

In order to pass, you must answer all 50 questions correctly. No grading on a curve. If you fail, you cannot vote in the next election. You may retake the exam the following year, but if you fail three times in a row (the questions never change), you are banned from ever voting again because you are hopelessly stupid. Voting may be an individual act, but its consequences are global. That’s why the VEE will help to weed out people who make uniformed choices that impact on the rest of us. I realize that my proposal may seem slanted against ignorant Republicans, but there are plenty of ignorant Democrats as well, and the exam would test all comers fairly.

And if the thought of taking a voter education exam seems radical to you, then consider that we already take tests in order to graduate from high school and college. We take tests to get law licenses and to practice medicine. We take tests to be able to style hair, sell real estate and drive cars. Why not require every American citizen to pass a test to demonstrate their ability to vote intelligently?

Of course, that would exempt President Obama, because he wasn’t born in this country. Plus, he’s spending $200 million a day to travel to his homeland in Indonesia to find his birth certificate. Anyway, that’s what Michelle Bachman says, so it must be true.

Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).

Share: