Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Too Many Voters

A temporary blip in President Bush's approval ratings has some Republicans fearing that angry voters, their emotions whipped up by the liberal media, will give the House and Senate to Democrats. Karl Rove apparently has a plan to counter this irrational exuberance by appealing to the emotions of the Republican base, warning that voting for Democrats will result in divisive investigations, gay marriage and high taxes. I think this strategy of trying to turn out more emotional, extreme Republican voters to counter an expected increase in emotional, extreme Democrat voters is misguided. We don't need more voters, we need more intelligent voters. And the way to accomplish that is to make it as difficult to vote as possible.

The liberal media is always decrying the fact that fewer and fewer eligible voters actually vote. But in fact, there are not too few people voting but too many of the wrong kind of people voting. The Founding Fathers were very worried about just the kind of uneducated, easily manipulated electorate we have today. One by one the safeguards they put in place to prevent this from happening have been eroded. The Founding Fathers originally intended to allow only white male property owners vote. By design voters do not vote directly for the President but for electors who guard against the mistakes a misinformed electorate might make like the one that almost occurred in 2000, and originally Senators were not directly elected but were appointed by the legislature as a check on the popularly elected House of Representatives. But in the last century many of these safeguards have been eroded. I think it's time to put some of these checks on voting back.

One thing we can do immediately to reverse this dangerous trend is not renew the Voting Rights Act. When the Voting Rights Act was first passed it was necessary because some states were preventing blacks from voting. Now that racism has been eliminated, the only thing the law does is prevent some very reasonable measures that would assure the quality of the electorate, such as literacy tests and poll taxes. Many people don't realize that the act even mandates bilingual ballots. Is it too much to ask that voters be able to speak English at least as well as the President? While considering the act's renewal this week some Republicans made the very sensible suggestion to eliminate this requirement, but even this modest attempt was turned back by illegal immigrant-coddling Democrats. Instead of trying to improve the Voting Rights Act, I think this relic of our racist past should be repealed. What is wrong with literacy tests, which assure that people are intelligent and informed enough to vote, and poll taxes, which assure that voters take their Constitutional responsibilities seriously? People take tests and pay taxes to drive cars so why shouldn't we have the same kinds of requirements for voting? Voting should be a privilege not a right.

One of the leading lights in election reform has been Florida. The state has purged thousands of felons from its rolls, along with a few other people (which a Federal court has declared perfectly legal); aggressively investigated voter fraud; invoked strict policies of invalidating ballots where voters were unable to follow instructions exactly to the letter; and pioneered such innovative techniques of screening voters as the "butterfly ballot," which made voting so difficult and confusing that only the most intelligent voters were able to use it properly. What we need are more measures like this to ensure that we have an electorate of the highest quality.

The Founding Fathers knew that democracy in the wrong hands could be very dangerous. In recent years we have seen examples where an unchecked electorate has made some terrible choices such as the victory of Hamas by the Palestinians, the accession of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and, closer to home, the election of Cynthia McKinney. The only way to ensure that the wrong people don't get elected is to take action to make sure the wrong people can't vote. Time is running out. If Republicans don't act soon to suppress unqualified voters, it may be too late.

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7 comments:

Marita said...

Is it too much to ask that voters be able to speak English at least as well as the President?

Nope, I don't think this is asking much at all.

Glad to see you found another book to review on Amazon, by the way. I rather enjoy your literary critiques.

Jon Swift said...

Thank you very much for your kind words about my book reviews. You know, there are so many books I have not actually read and so little time.

BenMerc said...

Jeb! and Katherine are cleaning out their desks as we speak...I am sure they have some time on their hands to show these worried Republicans how the process really works.

Anonymous said...

Racism has not been eliminated. Racism has become, in many instances, subtle and less overt over the years. The advancement of few does not equate a level playing field nor does it mean that racism no longer exists...

KathyB said...

Thanks for a very insightful article.

You are 100% correct that there needs to be some sort of litercy test for potential voters.

jd chandler said...

very nice satire jon. it's too bad so many fools take you seriously.

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