Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New Voter Registration System

According to a study conducted by the State Education Agency, about one-third of the people living in the nation's capital (Washington DC, for the geographically challenged) are functionally illiterate! About one-fifth nationally are functionally illiterate. (Phew! That's a smaller percentage, boys and girls, which makes me feel better about the situation.) You can read the Associated Press story here.

This kind of information ought to make our heads explode!!! Why? Because many of these same illiterates are VOTING!!! And will be voting in 2008!!! And here's the big question (and connection): if you can't read, if you're functionally illiterate, what are the chances you can cast a semi-intelligent vote re: an issue you don't understand...BECAUSE YOU CAN'T READ!!! (Yeah, yeah, someone could tell you--you could hear about it on TV or radio, but we all know the media is biased. You need to be able to read, to assimilate some information for yourself.)

So...here's my plan. Effective today, absolutely NO ONE is a registered voter. End of discussion. If you want to vote in an upcoming election, you must do ALL of the following:

  • Go to your nearest voter registration office in person to register.
  • Present three (3) forms of ID such as an official picture ID-i.e. state issued driver's license, a birth certificate from an AMERICAN hospital and an official social security card. These three items could vary, but in essence, you will need three forms of ID, proving you are an American citizen of eligible voting age.
  • You must be able to read the entire Gettysburg Address, IN ENGLISH, in two minutes or less.

The down-side to my plan: it might eliminate a significant number of members of Congress.


Dylan said...

I think that the English requirement would cause people to argue that it's a racist program. I think you're probably familiar enough with demographics and the sorts of arguments used that I needn't extrapolate on this.

They might argue it for other reasons as well--e.g. would it affect one party more than another? I'd be interested to know if the literacy/illiteracy rates are the same in rural and urban areas and if not, what the political implications would be to your program.

Keith said...

From the National Right to Read Foundation website: "According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, 42 million adult Americans can't read; 50 million can recognize so few printed words they are limited to a 4th or 5th grade reading level...According to current estimates, the number of functionally illiterate adults is increasing by approximately two and one quarter million persons each year. This number includes nearly 1 million young people who drop out of school before graduation, 400,a000 legal immigrants, 100,000 refugees, and 800,000 illegal immigrants, and 20 % of all high school graduates."

These are some alarming statistics, but again, I believe they support my "theory": If a person can't read, how in the world can we expect them to vote intelligently?

"Racist?" The point is NOT to be politically correct. The point is to have people voting intelligently, understanding what or who they are voting for. It's not my fault that my proposed system might limit the number of voters in Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, or my own home state, Oklahoma.

Maybe with fewer illiterate voters, candidates would be more accountable knowing that people are reading about the fiscal antics of their state and federal lawmakers. Just a thought.

At this point, I don't think any party is offering much, so I'm not too worried about losing a couple of million ex-voters that can't fumble their way through a "Dick and Jane" reader.

Sarge said...

An intelligence test would eliminate most politicians. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Dylan said...

FWIW, I agree in principle.